Match.com

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Match.com

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.

Privacy

Can it snoop on me?

Camera

Device: N/A

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: N/A

App: Yes

Tracks Location

Device: N/A

App: Yes

What is required to sign up?

What data does it collect?

How does it use this data?

Match.com definitely shares user data with around 45 other Match Group companies, such as Tinder, OK Cupid, and Plenty of Fish among others. The company also shares data with third parties for purposes such as advertising and analytics.

How can you control your data?

Users can request a copy of their personal information, as well as their data to be deleted. Users based in California can request a notice disclosing the categories of personal information that Match.com has shared with third parties for their direct marketing purposes during the preceding calendar year. Both can be requested by emailing [email protected]

What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?

Needs Improvement

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?

No

User friendly privacy information?

No

Pretty technical even though they claim to make it accessible.

Links to privacy information

Security

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?

No

Encryption

Can’t determine

On the basis of Match.com's continued security flaws, it is questionable whether the company has put in place robust encryption.

Strong password

Yes

A strong password is required with 8 characters, 1 upper, 1 lower and 1 number.

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Match.com has a bug bounty program https://hackerone.com/match?type=team

Privacy policy

Yes

Artificial Intelligence

Does the product use AI?

Yes

Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?

Yes

Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?

No

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.

Company contact info

Phone Number

No

Live Chat

No

Twitter

@match

Updates

Match may have misled users with messages from fake dating accounts
Vox
The Federal Trade Commission is suing Match Group, the online dating company that owns Match.com, Tinder, and Hinge, for allegedly using misleading advertisements to convince hundreds of thousands of Match.com users to subscribe to the service.
Can we trust the Match Group cartel with our dating data?
ProPrivacy
Data has become the fuel of the relationship economy and the Match Group is consolidating the entire dating industry. The IAC portfolio commands a 25% market share of online dating, more than double its next nearest competitor, eHarmony. In the last reported quarter, the Match Group had close to 9 million paying subscribers, although the total user base is much higher than that. There are more than 50 million users on Tinder alone.
FTC Sues Owner of Online Dating Service Match.com for Using Fake Love Interest Ads To Trick Consumers into Paying for a Match.com Subscription
Federal Trade Commission
Match Group, Inc. also unfairly exposed consumers to the risk of fraud and engaged in other allegedly deceptive and unfair practices
Match launches UK’s first AI Dating Chatbot, Lara, on the Google Assistant
Match
We’re excited to announce the latest innovation in online dating here at Match, as we launch our artificial intelligence dating coach, available on smart home devices!
Match, Tinder Swipe Right For Privacy Red Flags, Say Experts
Threat Post
Over 70 percent of subscribers across Match.com express concern about the amount of data they share with the platform, according to a ProPrivacy.com survey. But despite those concerns, users of the service do it anyway and also remain unaware of just how much data the company collects and how they may be using it, privacy advocates said.
Match.com learns that encryption alone isn't enough
Computer World
The folk over at RIIS, an IT services firm in Troy, Mich., have put out an annual report over the past few years exploring Android security. That report has opted to look at the largest romance sites as they publish in mid-February, near Valentine's Day. Looking at the report over the years — I last commented on it two years ago — allows us to see how the industry is progressing. The good news is that almost everyone examined passed this year. The bad news is that one didn't, and that one is Match.com, a vendor that had been found to have security holes in prior reports.

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