Review date: 02/07/2021
Crossing paths and finding dates. That's the idea behind the location-based dating app Happn. Launched in 2014, Happn works by showing you other people on Happn who you have crossed paths with (and by crossed paths, they mean come within 250 meters of). If you cross paths with someone who catches your eye, you can like their profile. Only if that person likes you back, what Happn calls a Crush, can you then message them. Free users can access basic matching, sending likes, and chatting with a crush. Premium users get to remove ads from the app, set invisibility time so others can't see them, and lock down privacy settings more tightly. Your phone number or Facebook is required to sign up.
What could happen if something goes wrong
Good news! Happn isn't as terrible with your privacy as so many other dating apps. Bad news! They still share your personal information with a host of other companies. Good news! They at least tell you who those other companies are and what they do with you data -- like Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat who they use for things like "Marketing operations to non-Members." This sort of data sharing isn't uncommon, we still don't love it. Happn is a location-based app hoping to connect people who cross paths, much like Tinder and Grindr, and is way better than Tinder and Grindr at protecting users privacy and security. Happn isn't perfect though. Users have the option to sign in with Facebook or their phone number. In 2017, Happn was found leaking users' Facebook information like location, pictures, and identities because they weren't securing this data properly. There are always risks when you use Facebook to connect to your dating apps. So please remember, when you connect a social media account like Facebook to Happn, both Facebook and Happn now potentially collect more information together. That's why we recommend users don't link your dating app to Facebook, use your phone number instead. Because really, you don't need to share all your personal info with Facebook, and then Happn, and then Happn may share more with Facebook and then it all gets exposed and soon the world knows where you like to hang out and who you think is hot. That might be a recipe for a good date...it's also potentially a recipe for disaster.
Can it snoop on me?
What is required to sign up?
Third party account
Phone or third party (Facebook or Apple) is required to sign up. Email is optional at a later point during the sign-up process
What data does it collect?
First name (required), date of birth (required), photo (minimum one), gender (required), who users want to cross path with (required), what a user is looking for (optional), exercise habits (optional), ideal vacation (optional), night time habits (optional), smoking tolerance (optional), kids (optional), description (optional), job (optional), employer (optional), school (optional), messages exchanged (required), search preferences (required).
Height (optional) and biometric data if a user chooses to certify their profile (Happn claims to delete the biometric data after verification but maintain the video in case of re-verification)
Depending on whether users choose to sign-in with Facebook and/or whether they connect their Happn account with their Facebook account, Happn collects data such as name, age, gender, email, photos, professional career and education, interests and habits, height and profile description.
How does it use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?
No known incidents in the last two years
Can this product be used offline?
User friendly privacy information?
Happn has a user-friendly privacy basics page.
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Happn ensures that user data is encrypted at rest and in transit
Password wasn't requires as login happens either via phone or third-party.
Happn runs security audits, led by independent and certified organizations.
Does the product use AI?
Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?
Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?
Happn uses AI for recommendations. From Real Business: "Happn primarily relies on people crossing paths, hence, their location, rather than an algorithm suggesting people. However, Happn has indicated that AI is becoming increasingly important but that the company wants to use it in different ways to some of the other popular dating apps. Happn intends to maintain some randomness to its AI, so that it doesn't take the 'magic' out of the equation but still uses AI to 'rank' profiles according to what it assumes a user will like."