Dating Applications: A Honeypot for Sextortion Victims

Harmony Tavakoli, Calli Tzani, Maria Ioannou, Thomas Williams, Michelle Drouin, Rachel Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Perpetrators often have easy access to victims via widely used social media networks, such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Nowadays, dating applications have provided one more platform where sextortionists identify potential victims and lure them into extortion and victimization. Limited research and media coverage has revealed that sextortion can cause significant harm, with victims reporting negative psychological consequences, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Many empirical findings arise from explorations of webcam sextortion, with limited literature examining sextortion in social media platforms, and particularly online dating sites. In the current, exploratory study, we examine these modern trends directly via an online survey of 102 participants. Overall, 62.7% had been sextorted by another dating application user, and 25.5% experienced failed attempts of sextortion by another dating application user. Results uniquely showed that Tinder, as well as Snapchat, are often used as fishing platforms for identifying sextortion victims. Furthermore, sextortion could be successfully predicted if individuals perceived that the perpetrator “seemed genuinely interested,” demonstrating how online dating platforms which specifically target those seeking romantic connections provide an ideal mechanism for perpetrators to fish for victims.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalDeviant Behavior
Early online date14 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Feb 2024

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