[Air-L] Ethical practices in scraping data from gay dating apps

Williams, Betsy A - (betsyw) betsyw at email.arizona.edu
Thu Mar 15 14:51:22 PDT 2018

Hi Sam,

Great question. If you're going to ask the company for permission, another option is to ask them to share with you an anonymized version/subset of their database. It sounds like you're looking for just samples of users anyway, so you may be able to ask them for a truly random sample out of their database from recently active people in those major cities. (It would be hard for them to fully anonymize things people say about themselves in the profiles, but they could hash real names (?) or other personally identifying information.)

Good luck!

Betsy Williams, Ph.D.
Center for Digital Society and Data Studies
University of Arizona School of Information

-----Original Message-----
From: Air-L [mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Lik Sam Chan
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2018 2:42 PM
To: Air list <air-l at listserv.aoir.org>
Subject: [Air-L] Ethical practices in scraping data from gay dating apps

Hi all,

I am designing a study to explore racism in a gay dating app (Jack'd). I plan to collect self-reported data of the user (freely available to anyone using the app) and types of people the particular user is interested in (available to premium users). I am planning to write a python script to collect samples from several major cities in the world -- therefore, I believe using automated data scraping technique will be more efficient than manually taking screen-shot of the users' profiles.

I am aware of the recent controversy about scraping users' profile from Tinder ( https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/28/someone-scraped-40000-tinder-selfies-to-make-a-facial-dataset-for-ai-experiments/).
I am also aware that some researchers have used automated scraping techniques in studying Grindr ( https://www.jedbrubaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/Fitzpatrick-DisclosureLBSM.pdf).
I am aware that the app prohibits data scraping so I plan to officially contact them for their permission.

I am interested in ways in which, after getting permission from the company, I can collect data in an ethical way, including how to protect the privacy of the users.


- - - - - -
Lik Sam CHAN, Ph.D.
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, USC liksamchan.com | @liksamchan _______________________________________________
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