Swipebuster is a service that charges you $5 to find out if your significant other is on Tinder.
The service is useful, since there are apparently a lot of cheaters on Tinder—GlobalWebIndex’s survey said 42% of those on Tinder are in a relationship, and 30% are married.
But how Swipebuster gets that cheating data may be the latest illustration of how easy it is to get access to personal information on the internet. I exchanged multiple emails with “firstname.lastname@example.org,” to learn more about how the service determines who’s on Tinder. He or she said the company reversed engineered Tinder’s API, or application programming interface, to pull data on users. The only data Swipebuster can access, he says, is what is part of Tinder’s API, which is publicly available on code repository website Github.
Via the API, Swipebuster can access a Tinder user’s first name, gender, age, and the last location where the Tinder user opened the app. According to Vanity Fair, which tested out the service, it’s pretty accurate.
Data such as first and last name, location, and age, are arguably the most sensitive data that Tinder collects. In an era when consumer privacy and security is becoming more important, how easy it is to access this kind of information from Tinder may seem disturbing.
Tinder provided this statement to us:
As one of the largest social platforms in the world with 10 billion connections made in just the last few years, most people know of at least one friend or colleague who has either met their significant other on Tinder or is currently on Tinder to date, make new friends and create all kinds of meaningful relationships. The searchable information on Swipebuster is public information that Tinder users have on their profiles. No private user information is being made public. If you want to see who’s on Tinder we recommend saving your money and downloading the app for free.
Additionally, all user profiles on Tinder are authenticated using public information from Facebook — including first name, age, and mutual friends — which are inalterable to help ensure that users are making authentic connections with real people. Tinder is definitely not the place to try and meet people if you are intent on concealing your true identity or intentions.
Tinder’s been expanding into other areas beyond dating, like political allegiances. The service ran a promotion called “Swipe the Vote,” where it matched you with a presidential candidate after you answered a series of questions. Given the easy availability of its more important data, users might be a bit reluctant to discuss their political leanings with Tinder.