One of the most important things in human culture and society is bonding, and the internet has since skyrocketed the online dating scene to unimaginable heights and sophistication. Dating was always big business since time immemorial, and will continue to be so. With the help of the internet, the dating industry has completely transformed into a multi-billion dollar business that countless millions of people use every day. The internet at its core is a communications tool that is able to connect people like nothing before it anywhere in the world, and the dating industry is all about making connections. So, what could possibly go wrong? Well, the internet is filled with cybercriminals, fraudsters, scammers, catfishing and privacy mishaps. This means that online dating is nowhere near safe without the proper knowledge and toolset. In fact, it can be very dangerous and lead to some horrific consequences if individuals are not careful enough on the internet dating jungle. This is why we need to look at why your privacy matters while online dating. A good starting point for this is to take a look at how to optimize your dating service privacy settings by taking in some expert tips.
You can check out VPNOverview for more detailed information on the optimal privacy settings for Tinder.
A Lovely Background
The online dating industry has surprisingly old roots (in internet terms, at least.) We can source online dating all the way back to just before the 1960s (this is long before the internet was public.) At that time, students from Stanford had matched men and women using classic punch card questionnaires. These questionnaires were processed by a big, burly IBM mainframe computer, which would make this the first instance of matchmaking where a computer was involved. In today’s digitally transformed age of myriad apps, high-speed internet and on-the-go IoT devices dating has reached completely unprecedented horizons. According to the latest statistics, the top five countries measured for online dating usage are; the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. As far as online dating revenue goes, the United States takes the number one spot where almost $1.5 billion is made in revenue via online dating, followed closely by India and China. As far as the leading online dating services are concerned, there is no need to introduce Tinder. Tinder takes the largest piece of the online dating market cake at 51% market share. Tinder is then followed by dating services Bumble, Match, eharmony and OkCupid. Tinder takes in over 6 million monthly downloads as of January this year, followed by Badoo and Bumble. Plenty of Fish and Match.com are also holding their own in this industry (match.com owns Tinder, Plenty of Fish and others.) Today, it is estimated that there are over 8,000 dating websites online (with some even offering services for beard lovers.)
The strength of the online dating industry was only consolidated after the beginning of lockdowns, as the online dating industry did not falter at all. In fact, it only became more popular and stronger. The industry saw a large spike in 2017, when worldwide revenue reached almost $800 million. Now, in 2023, the online dating industry has surpassed the $1 billion mark. By 2025, these figures are expected to quadruple which means that we could see a worldwide revenue of $4 billion with a user base of 40 million users in the U.S. alone using online dating services.
Why is Privacy Important When Dating Online?
Online dating wasn’t considered to have any privacy or security issues a decade ago for several reasons. First of all, the number of users was nowhere near as much as today. Secondly, the amount of dating services out there was incomparable to now. And thirdly, the sophistication of cybercriminals, scammers, fraudsters and in general those looking to benefit from naive online daters today is a far cry from back in the day.
Several problems can arise from online dating that concern both an individual’s cybersecurity and privacy;
- Catfishing (identity theft and the creation of false identities)
- Identity theft
- Online predators
- Data theft
- Credential Theft
Having some common sense when online dating is obvious, as you never know who you are talking to for the reasons listed above. Unfortunately, it is difficult for even the most revered dating websites like Tinder to completely weed out scammers and criminals (even though they are trying very hard) so it is important that you arm yourself with some tips to stay safe while online dating in the section below.
How to Protect Your Privacy When Dating Online
Ideally, a dating service should handle the sign-up process (like Facebook does) so that multiple fake accounts cannot be created and an ID should be required. Some dating services also take this process very seriously and apply background checks to potential members so that any problematic individuals can be filtered out (although this is quite rare and often costs money.) But what can you do yourself to ensure your privacy and security while dating online? Here are some expert tips;
- Adjust the privacy settings within the dating service/app your are using
- Make sure that you talk to or meet (in a public space) the person you will date
- Acquire the social media information of the online dating user you are communicating with
- Never give out your personal, financial or sensitive information online to anyone
- Do a background check of the person you want to date on your own
- Help the dating service by reporting suspicious members of the community right away
- Only used paid, trusted dating service and definitely avoid free third-party dating services
- Optimize your dating profile
- Keep an eye on the security blogs of your dating service to know if there has been a security breach
- Delete all dating accounts permanently if you do not use them any longer
- Know the data sharing practices of your dating service
- Use extensions like HTTPS everywhere as a browser addon for additional security
- Use a VPN or Virtual Private Network at all times while using a dating service
As a final note, creating a quality dating profile is important for several reasons; it weeds out people you don’t want to communicate with, communicates who you are effectively and creates a good first impression of you. Therefore, being honest about who you are looking for, what you like, who you are and what you do not like will filter out a lot of unnecessary interactions from the start.