Who's the Third Wheel in Your Dating Life?

Tinder, Grindr, Happn, OkCupid, Match, eHarmony... there are so many dating services out there. This Data Detox Kit article will introduce you to the third wheel in your dating life and give you tips on how to share less and keep more secrets.

Hungry for More

Dating apps need some information to give you a good experience. Happn and Grindr, for example, need to know where you are in order to find people around you. But what else do dating apps know?

In 2017, when Judith Duportail asked Tinder to share everything they had collected on her during the 4 years she used the app, they sent her 800 pages of info including every time she opened the app, all of her matches and messages, the date, time, and location from where she wrote messages, plus information relating to her Facebook likes and friends, Instagram profile, and much more.

While any one piece of information collected about Judith may seem small, combining the 800 pages of data about her with the data from the millions of other users on these dating apps results in valuable info that certain groups will pay money for.

And the fact is, it's hard to tell where your data ends up.

In 2017, Tactical Tech and artist Joana Moll paid 136 Euros for 1 million dating profiles for a project called The Dating Brokers, exposing the hundreds of companies that want access to your profile. When you visit The Dating Brokers auction, you can click on the "buy now" button to view the anonymised photos and intimate details included in any of these profiles.

There are some steps you can take to share less when looking for romance:

Top Tips

1. Separate your dating profile from other social media accounts

Connecting your dating profile to Facebook, Instagram, and other social media can help potential dates get a better idea of the kind of person you are, but this can be risky, too. If you want to keep your dating life separate from other parts of your life, like family or work, don't connect your dating profile to your social media accounts. Tinder, for example, lets you sign up with your phone number instead of connecting to your Facebook account.

If you've already connected your social media accounts, but have changed your mind, you can set up a new dating profile that keeps these parts of your life separate.

2. Keep some secrets

Your real name, real birth date, where you work, the school you went to: keep some of that to yourself. Maybe you used your first cat's name as a password recovery question? Or maybe you don't want matches to know where you do your grocery shopping? You can decide which secrets to keep and which to share when you sign up, in your profile, or in messages with matches.

If you don't want to use your real name, get creative and try out an alternative name.

3. Snap a new selfie just for your profile

Use a photo on your dating profile that is not on your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or other profiles online. A unique photo may make it harder to find out more about you online.

4. Turn off location services when you don't need them

As mentioned, some dating apps ask for your location to find a match near you. Most dating apps, however, will work just fine if you simply enter the district or suburb you're in. This approach may mean you won't find a match standing directly next to you, but you may find one down the street.

If you'd like to deny location services to a specific app:


  • Settings
  • Apps
  • App permissions
  • Location


  • Settings
  • Privacy
  • Location Services
  • Manage location access on a per-app basis

If you'd like to turn off your phone's location services, follow these steps:


  • Settings
  • Security & Location / Location
  • Turn location off


  • Settings
  • Privacy
  • Location services
  • Turn them off

5. Talk in private

If your conversation with a match is getting exciting, move somewhere more private like Wire. On Wire, you can set up an account on desktop, then later can access it on your mobile phone without using your phone number.

6. Get offline

If you'd like to close your account, you have the option to do so within each app. In Tinder, you can go to:

  • Profile
  • Settings
  • Delete Account

Then, you'll receive a confirmation message saying "Account successfully deleted." Afterward, don't forget to uninstall the app from your phone.

When you close your account, it's unclear whether all of your data will be erased from the records of dating services, but at least you'll ensure that you aren't feeding them any new data.

These are just a few things you can do, but if you'd like even more tips check out this article!

What next?

Last updated on: 4/21/2020