A study has shown that 73% have vetted their matches in some form from a dating platform, and half of online daters admit to un-matching someone based on what they found.
Norton, a consumer Cyber Safety brand of NortonLifeLock, has published findings from a global study examining consumers’ online creeping behaviours when it comes to prospective partners and romantic interests.
When matching with someone online, it is only natural for people to do a little extra research on their potential dates. Norton surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18+ online, in partnership with The Harris Poll, and found that the most common tactics for vetting ahead of a prospective date by those that use online dating apps and websites include scrolling through social media profiles (49%), typing a name into a search engine (37%), or looking up a profile on a professional networking site (30%).
Kevin Roundy, technical director at NortonLifeLock, said: “Nearly everyone does some form of vetting or online creeping before meeting someone in person for the first time. However, some people are going well beyond vetting, quickly crossing over into concerning “online creeping” territory in which they access highly personal information. We’ve seen how seemingly minute personal details included in dating profiles and other social media can leave people vulnerable if this information were to get in the wrong hands.”
More than a quarter of online daters in the U.S. (28%) take it a step further by looking up a dating match’s friends or family members on social media. If that sounds intrusive, think about those that are unknowingly subjected to background checks – one in seven (14%) admit to paying for a check on their match.
Additional findings from the study include:
- Online creeping isn’t just for those who are using online dating platforms: Around one in ten American adults also admit that they have used a payment app (e.g., Venmo, CashApp, etc.) to check on someone else’s public activity (10%) or have looked at the music account of a romantic interest (9%).
- Social media lurking can lead to awkward moments: Nearly one in five Americans (19%) say they have accidentally “deep-liked” an old post or photo on a social media profile of a romantic interest or of their partner’s ex-significant other – and it’s no surprise younger generations are more likely than their older counterparts to do so (36% aged 18-39 vs. 9% aged 40+).
- Many are checking in on their romantic partners as well: Two in five Americans who have been in a romantic relationship (42%) admit to checking in on their current or former partners without their knowledge or consent. Some admit to tracking their current or former partner’s location via a location sharing app (13%) and creating a fake profile to check on them on social media (10%). Alarmingly, one in ten (10%) admit to using “stalkerware” or “creepware”.
- Gen Z and Millennial adults are more likely to creep online than other generations. A concerning 39% of younger generations aged 18-39 say they would be more likely to stalk a current or former partner online if they knew they would not get caught, compared to only 12% aged 40+.