Warning: *privacy not included with this product
Review date: 02/07/2021
Launched in 1995, Match.com is one of the oldest dating sites still going and has over 20 million users in 24 countries. Match is a pretty standard dating app. You build a profile, search for matches, all the typical dating app stuff. They do offer one pretty unique feature -- your own personal "wingwoman" called Lara. Lara is an "artificial intelligence dating coach" chatbot there to (hopefully) help you find the one. She will send you a match, tell you where you should go on a date, what you should wear on that date, and even give you her ideas for how to start the conversation. Yeah, an AI chatbot exists to tell you how to start a conversation on your first date. What could go wrong? Match is also part of the Match Group, which owns a whole portfolio of dating site including Tinder, OKCupid, Hinge, Plenty of Fish, and more. You have the option to send your profile to one of Match's sister sites to increase your chances at finding love. Match is free to sign up and use, but if you want to message people who catch your eye that requires paying for the premium features.
What could happen if something goes wrong
The Match Group, which owns Match and about 45 other dating sites like Tinder, OK Cupid, Hinge, and Plenty of Fish, owns about 25% of the dating app market share. It also seems to own a huge share of the terrible privacy and security practices found in dating apps. In 2020,, a Norwegian Consumer Council study found some of these Match Group sites may be sharing users' personal information like your location and dating preferences to marketing companies in ways that may violate privacy laws. In 2019, Match was sued by the FTC in the United States for allegedly using misleading ads and deceptive email marketing tactics to get hundreds of thousands of Match users to pay for their services. Match has also been known to not adequately secure their users' data, thanks to a number of security vulnerabilities. They collect a huge amount of data--everything from what you say in your chats to religion, ethnicity, even what you eat, and how many pets you have. And then there is Lara, the AI chatbot dating coach designed to help you find love and tell you what to wear on dates. Lara isn't the only AI Match uses to play online matchmaker. Match started using an algorithm back in 2010 to rate users based on their preferences. Without a lot of transparency into the algorithm, one concern when apps collect information such as ethnicity and religion, it's hard to know how much bias these algorithms might have in who they try and match you with. Finally, when you connect a social media account like Facebook to Match, both Facebook and the Match now potentially collect more information together. That's why we recommend users don't link your dating app to Facebook.
Can it snoop on me?
What is required to sign up?
Third party account
What data does it collect?
Gender (required), gender preference (required), location (required), date of birth (required), first name (required), relationship preferenece (optional), have children (optional), want children (optional), education level (optional), body type (optional), smoking (optional), hair length (optional), ethnicity (optional), religion (optional), relationship status (optional), photo (minimum one), description (optional), music (optional), occupation (optional), little imperfections (optional), appearance (optional), income (optional), pets (optional), languages (optional), nationality (optional)style (optional), diet (optional), personality (optional), best feature (optional), romance (optional), interests (optional). Collects data on ethnicity and allows users to filter for it.
Height (optional), hair color (optional), eye color (optional), weight (optional),
If a user connects their social media accounts, such as Facebook, to their dating profile, Match.com collects data from that social media account, such as Facebook. However, Match.com does not specify what data it collects and how it uses it.
How does it use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?
The FTC alleged in September 2019 that Match.com used deceptive email marketing tactics to try and subscribe users to its service. In addition, Norwegian regulators started investigating Match Group properties, alleging the company shared personal user data with advertising companies in a way that may violate privacy laws.
Can this product be used offline?
User friendly privacy information?
Pretty technical even though they claim to make it accessible.
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
On the basis of Match.com's continued security flaws, it is questionable whether the company has put in place robust encryption.
A strong password is required with 8 characters, 1 upper, 1 lower and 1 number.
Match.com has a bug bounty program https://hackerone.com/match?type=team
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?
Match.com introduced algorithms in 2010 to rate its users and learning from users' preference to make recommendations. Spin forward a decade, Match.com recently released an AI Dating Chatbox aka a dating coach, called 'Lara', in collaboration with Google. Lara provides daily user matches, ideas for date locations, and bespoke dating advise on the basis of up to 50 personal factors (such as from conversation starters, to advice on what to wear, and tips on how to overcome nerves). However, this form of recommendation based on user's data can be problematic, as the AI application might be or perpetuate biases and forms of discrimination.