Jingjie Chen (490004638)
Tinder: ‘You should not expect that your personal information, chats, or other communications will always remain secure.’ Photograph: Alamy (Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/26/tinder-personal-data-dating-app-messages-hacked-sold)
Tinder, as a technology platform, has reshaped social interaction and generated new practices of self-presentation and communication (David & Cambre, 2016). There’s no doubt that online dating platforms have revolutionised the way people meet and connect, helping many users overcome physical, social, and psychological boundaries when it comes to forming romantic relationships. On the other hand, the rapid development of digital communications technology has led to an increase in online romance scams, accompanied by a higher risk of privacy and digital rights violations. According to ABC News (2022), Australians lost more than $131 million in romance scams in 2020. That’s the price of true love. Also, a documentary released by Netflix in 2022 tells a shocking story about a jet-setting, online-dating scammer and shows empathy for female victims. The use of dating apps by scammers to commit fraud illustrates the dark side of the Internet, from the ease of lying to the illusion of intimacy it can create, which highlights the importance of privacy and digital rights on online dating platforms (Nicholson, 2022). For one thing, users have the right to control their personal data and be informed of the use of their data. For another, online dating platforms are responsible for protecting users’ privacy and digital rights. Therefore, in this article, we will explore the importance of privacy and digital rights on online dating platforms using Tinder as a case, then evaluate the effectiveness of the measures taken by the platform to protect users’ privacy and digital rights after the story of The Tinder Swindler, and finally discuss possible measures to ensure the feasibility of user data protection.
Tinder is an example of location-based real-time dating (LBRTD) application, which has changed the digital data environment to handle more than 1 billion or so swipes per day. On this platform, registered users can present themselves through 6 pictures and 500 words. According to the survey, Tinder users spend an average of 90 minutes a day swiping hundreds of profiles (Bilton, 2014). To match, both users must swipe right. After pairing, a pop-up animation shows photos of the two users, allowing direct messaging. Swiping left means discarding the current user’s profile and displaying the next card-like image. David and Cambre (2016) referred to this operation as the ‘swiping logic’ that allows the immediacy of the emotional temperament, the transience of interactions and the goods of intimacy. Based on quick and superficial visual assessments of other users’ profiles, the gamification of the swiping logic enhances emotional intensity and increases the speed of interaction, thus helping to produce a particular pattern of intimacy. This screened intimacy creates a sense of distance as experience and emotion are transmitted through images and messages, which is mediated primarily by the application and the device accessing it.
Tinder Swipe Feature Page Example
The Tinder Swindler Case Study
In The Tinder Swindler, the scammer Shimon Hayut uses Tinder to create fake profiles, pretending to be a wealthy and successful businessman and gaining women’s trust by exploiting their desire to find love. He disappears as soon as the target amount is reached, citing a need for a business investment or a personal emergency. There’s no question that he violates users’ privacy and digital rights in multiple ways. Firstly, he violates Tinder’s community guidelines and terms of service by creating a fake profile. Suzor (2019) suggested that since there is no “neutral” social media platform, the rules and technical design decisions of the platform shape the type of content that users can post and the public can access. His argument not only undermined the trust and integrity of Tinder but also potentially caused users to reduce their usage and negatively impacted the platform. Secondly, the fraudster uses the personal data provided by the victim to manipulate and deceive the victim. Seaver (2019) defined algorithmic recommendation systems as ‘a pervasive feature of contemporary online cultural life’. For example, Tinder uses recommendation algorithms to recommend users to people they might be interested in, increasing the probability of matches. Shimon Hayut takes advantage of recommendation algorithms and builds his characters to win women’s trust according to their interests, preferences and desires.
The Tinder Swindler Story YouTube Video Explained (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFFTMfp5iQo)
Current Measures and Future Solutions
In response to the scam, Tinder has implemented several measures to improve user security and assurance. The first feature is photo verification, which requires users to take selfies in real time and compare them with the photos previously uploaded by themselves to help reduce false information and identity theft.
Tinder Photo Verification Feature
Meanwhile, in 2021, the parent company of Tinder Match Group began to conduct background checks on Tinder users to identify and remove those with a history of violent or sexual crimes. It also created a security centre, improved reporting systems to provide users with suggestions on identifying and avoiding scams and protecting personal information and promised swift action against users who violate the terms. Furthermore, Tinder’s partnership with Noonlight enables users to add badges to their profiles to indicate that they are using Noonlight. If users feel unsafe during an appointment, they can call emergency services by pressing the emergency button in the app. Despite the platform’s efforts to limit the extent to which it interferes with user content, Tinder simply presents itself as a vehicle for content release and an intermediary for conversation, trying to avoid being responsible for the actions of its users (Seaver, 2019). Moreover, it is adept at handling and defusing these controversies, tweaking its policies and apologising, and promising to review and improve. Still, Tinder’s enhancements demonstrate its commitment to user safety by striving to create a safe and trusted dating environment for its users.
Tinder & Noonlight: Tinder has partnered with Noonlight to give users backup every time when they meet up with someone new.
Hintz (2019) saw the invasion of privacy as part of a larger reality that every digital citizen must acknowledge, explaining that while users are upset by the intrusion, they think ‘they have nothing to hide’, show indifference to the issue, and gradually accept digital realism. Thus, the public needs to rethink basic assumptions about how the Internet is governed. According to Karppinen (2017), the management and moderation of content is essentially a core commodity and a necessary function provided by the platform in order to ensure a valuable experience for target users. However, Suzor (2019) pointed out that most censorship occurs after a post is published. Due to the high cost of monitoring uploaded content, content is screened in advance, but the platform still relies on the immediacy of the conversation, and human real-time reviews create delays that impede conversation and reduce engagement. In addition, it is important to note that the artificial screening group consists primarily of white, well-educated, affluent males who may deepen existing prejudices against minority groups (Flew, 2021). Tinder hides the vast, mundane process of reviewing content and responding to complaints, indicating that this fiction is implicitly maintained when the platform moderates and creates content. The real rules of social media platforms are hidden due to the high level of uncertainty and confusion surrounding how data is generated and collected in privacy issues (Flew, 2021). Tinder can therefore offer users greater control over their privacy settings, allowing them to choose what information to share with other users and provide for the app, change the settings of their accounts, and avoid visiting suspicious websites (Hintz, 2019). As suggested by Bartlett (2023), Tinder should be more transparent about the collection, storage and use of users’ personal data by providing clear and concise privacy policies, allowing users to be free to access and delete personal information, etc. At the same time, ‘data minimisation’ can be used to reduce the amount of personal data of users, thereby reducing the risk of data breaches.
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Nicholson, R. (2022, Feburary 2). The Tinder Swindler review – the gobsmacking true story of an internet con artist. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2022/feb/02/the-tinder-swindler-review-the-gobsmacking-true-story-of-an-internet-con-artist
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