In honor of submitting the camera-ready for my most recent research project (yay!!), which was about privacy issues in online dating, here’s a conversation I witnessed on Facebook about using Tinder while flying.
I’m so glad to know that people (besides me) are actually asking these types of questions. Theoretically, Tinder only shows you profiles of people who are within your specified search radius and only shows your profile to people within that radius.
In our research study, we found that some people rely on assumptions about how the location features work to maintain their privacy. For example, one participant who don’t want to see coworkers/be seen by coworkers on Tinder said that they “make sure to not use proximity-driven apps at work.” While this might be an effective strategy – I think Tinder only accesses your location when the app is open, so if the app isn’t open at work, they would never know you were there – using Tinder while on the move (and while your potential matches are also moving) can result in unexpected scenarios.
I travelled to Nashville over our winter holiday and immediately hopped in a car toward NC. I used Tinder during the ride and continued to see profiles from people who were clearly in Seattle even several hours after landing and opening the app. I didn’t Tinder on the plane 😛
If you’re interested in reading our paper, it’s available on my webpage.