Jen Juneau
April 05, 2016 10:25 am
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We’ve all heard of Tinder, right? This simple matchmaker app — used for both platonic and romantic connections — lets you swipe right to show you’re interested in someone, or left to show you’re not. And it’s all completely anonymous, unless you both swipe right. You’re matched up with each other, and then you guys take it from there. Simple enough, right?

Well, there’s some bad news for people who are using it for romantic purposes if they’re already in a committed relationship. A new website, fittingly called Swipebuster, helps folks figure out whether someone they know is on Tinder — and if so, what types of connections they are looking for with the app. All users have to do is type in a person’s first name, age, and location they’ve searched within, and voila: For a fee of $4.99, they can bust anyone.

Once users sign up on Swipebuster and input the search parameters, the website will show them photos of matching Tinder users, as well as data such as when they last logged in to the app and whether they’re looking for men and/or women.

But how does it work, exactly? According to Vanity Fair, Tinder’s application programming interface (A.P.I.), as well as their databases that possess all the app users’ information, are both public — meaning anyone with the specific coding knowledge can access this information at any time, no hacking required. Apparently this is a common scenario among technology companies, so third-party companies can get the information they need to easily build supporting products.

The mastermind behind Swipebuster, who wishes to remain anonymous (we can’t say we blame him), told Vanity Fair that he wanted to create the app to make people aware of just how legally accessible their data is in today’s social-media-driven world. He adds that his goal is not to make a ton of money, but to encourage people to pay more attention to what they’re putting out there — as well as persuade Tinder to make this data private.

“There is too much data about people that people themselves don’t know is available,” the anonymous creator told Vanity Fair. “Not only are people oversharing and putting out a lot of information about themselves, but companies are also not doing enough to let people know they’re doing it.”

Pretty scary. We think the lesson here is to educate ourselves on where our data is actually going, and who can see it. And, you know, to make sure we have an understanding with our significant others about how dating apps will be playing into our relationships.

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