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The State of Online Dating

How online dating has evolved in the age of chatbots, lockdowns, and government interference.

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Online dating isn’t just the most ubiquitous way for couples to meet — there’s evidence it’s responsible for stronger and more diverse marriages. And especially over the past year, dating apps have become a lifeline for millions of people craving connection as their IRL social lives stall.

But technology has met the moment with varying levels of success. Inspired by the Mozilla Foundation’s Privacy Not Included Guide to Dating Apps — a comprehensive guide to how the most popular dating apps handle personal data and privacy — we set out to better understand the ever-changing world of online dating. Read on to learn how the industry has navigated cultural shifts, privacy concerns, and a global pandemic that’s expanded the concept of a face-to-face date. Plus, tips for navigating the scene yourself.


 Technology’s Impact

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How 1970s VCR dating paved the way for Tinder and Hinge 

Michael WatersVox

Great Expectations, which existed into the ’90s, was the original dating technology.

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Chatbot Love: What It’s Like to Fall For Your AI

Stav DimitropoulosExperience Magazine

“She will not break up with you.”

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Privacy Not Included Guide to Dating Apps

Mozilla Foundation

How creepy is that app? We created this guide to help you select safe, secure options.

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Phone Tracking Is Having a Moment, but Gay Dating App Scruff Wants No Part of It

Charles LevinsonProtocol

Location data is big business, and is now at the center of efforts to study the spread of COVID-19. But who’s in control?

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Feeling Lonely? Wearing Cat Ears May Help

Erik DeLappThe New York Times

There may be no better time than the present to find love on multiplayer online role-playing games.

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About The Misaligned Incentives of Dating Applications

Matt KleinHacker Noon

Why it’s time to redefine success.

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Apps in Cultural Context

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How a Dating App Helped a Generation of Chinese Come Out of the Closet

Yi-Ling LiuThe New York Times

Blued, one of the biggest gay dating apps in the world, has succeeded because it plays by the ever-shifting rules for L.G.B.T.Q. China — bringing together a minority community without activism.

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More Than Just a Dating App

Mariya KarimjeeRest of World

When Pakistani authorities banned Tinder last month, one woman lost a social lifeline.

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Racism Thrives in the Online Dating World

Brianna HoltMashable

“Why was my experience on dating apps with non-Black men on the East Coast so different from my experience in the South?”

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Dating Apps Are a Minefield for Non-Binary People

Edi FiettkauVice

The extra considerations non-binary people need to take in order to use platforms that aren’t designed for them can be exhausting.

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‘This Is Small Talk Purgatory’: What Tinder Taught Me About Love

CJ HauserThe Guardian

When I ended up single in a small town, I turned to a dating app. But finding someone fully and messily human was harder than I thought.

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Covid’s Effects

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The Forever-Online Boyfriends of the Pandemic

Raisa BrunerTime

Dating during COVID-19 doesn’t offer the romance of infatuation or the passion of a fling, but it teaches us to commit to something different: kindness, curiosity, discovery, patience.

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What's Next for Dating During Coronavirus, According To an Anthropologist, Pathogen Expert, and Love-Life Coach [WATCH]

Abby Narishkin and Steve CameronInsider

Do you think you can tell if you're attracted to someone right away on Zoom?

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What the Pandemic Has Done for Dating

Sara KonrathThe Atlantic

Many single Americans have been more intentional about whom they date, are having deeper conversations, and are spending more quality time with new partners.

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Best Practices

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How to Date Like a Game Theorist

Christina GravertBehavioral Scientist

“I needed to reconsider my dating strategy. How could I optimize the costs and benefits of finding a partner in a global pandemic?”

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Love Lockdown: Four People Reveal How They Stay Privacy-Aware While Using Dating Apps

The Firefox Frontier

Dating during a global pandemic is the definition of “it’s complicated.”

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How to Go on a Digital First Date

Alex ShultzGQ

Love at first Zoom is possible.

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