select all

How Safe Is That Valentine’s Day Twitter-Match Generator?

Maybe take a pass on using Affinitweet this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means it’s time — for the second year in a row — for your Twitter feed to become clogged with auto-generated tweets from people you follow proclaiming which of their followers would make the best match for them on the 14th of February. The tweets come courtesy of a, let’s say, questionable website called Affinitweet. To generate your match, you have to log into the site via your Twitter account, grant Affinitweet read and write permissions for your personal Twitter, and, most annoyingly, you can’t just use the Valentine’s match generator and not share it. If you want your match, you have to authorize Affinitweet to automatically tweet your results.

If you’re dying to know which of your Twitter followers a computer — using Twitter’s API and your public tweets — deems your match, you can do that here. Though you may want to hold off on doing so. Affinitweet, while seemingly fun, is lacking in clarity when it comes to which information of yours it is accessing and what it is doing with it. There is no email to contact (Select All reached out via Twitter and will update if we hear back) and the only semblance of a terms of service is a short paragraph at the top of the site’s homepage. The support section of the site includes a Twitter handle and a PayPal link to donate to the site, which … LOL.

From Affinitweet:

Affinitweet is based on the Twitter API and used public information from two users (you and another Twitter user) to check their #affinitwees. Statistics and common points are calculated from these accounts in order to show you your results. You can easily check your #affinitwees with anyone on Twitter (except private accounts). Share and follow us on Twitter to know all new features at @affinitweet_!

Like many Twitter apps you might already use — TimeHop, Instagram, Vine (RIP), Medium (semi-RIP), the list goes on — Affinitweet requires what are known as “read and write permissions.” This means the app has access to all your public tweets (read) and can do things like tweet and edit your profile (write). Unlike those other apps, which have clear terms of service and privacy policies (“we will never tweet on your behalf yadda yadda”), you should be a little nervous about using Affinitweet because you have no idea where your potentially scraped data is going. Best case scenario: Nowhere. Worst case scenario: It’s being sold to the highest bidder. And as of right now, where Affinitweet falls between those two is unclear.

If you’re still bent on finding out which of your Twitter friends should be your Valentine, make sure to revoke Affinitweet’s access to your Twitter once you’re done. To do that, head to your Twitter account settings and choose “Apps.” Then click the “Revoke Access” button next to Affinitweet. While you’re there, check and see what other apps you’ve authorized over the years. If you’re not using them, revoke their access too. And maybe just try something more old-fashioned this Valentine’s Day, like buying your crush a nice little AI for their apartment.

How Safe Is That Valentine’s Day Twitter-Match Generator?