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(Pocket-lint) - The online dating industry is expected to worth a whopping $9.5 billion (£7.59 billion) by 2025, so it comes as no surprise to learn that it's now the most popular way to meet your future partner.

We spoke to Scott Harvey, editor of trade publication Global Dating Insights, who told us that meeting someone online has become the most common way to find love: "Around 20 per cent of heterosexual relationships now begin online," he explained.

"It's replaced meeting through friends or meeting at a bar."

And, online dating is more important to those in the LGBT community, he revealed: "That's even more true in homosexual relationships, a huge 75 per cent tend to begin online. The usual explanation is the population density is far lower, so these individuals are far more likely to turn to an online platform to meet someone from the next town across."

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It also seems to be a regional thing, for those who struggle to find like-minded people: "If you're gay in somewhere like Scotland or the Southwest of England these apps are incredibly useful for meeting your own community where you live."

This has resulted in an explosion of niche dating apps, that have become more popular even under the shadow of behemoths like Match, Tinder, and eHarmony.

However, while rapidly growing in popularity, the finding a life partner online isn't without its concerns.

Industry experts believe that privacy issues are starting to make an impact on the industry. Latest reports, such as this one in the New York Times, suggest profile pictures from dating sites like OKCupid have been used to train third-party facial recognition algorithms without consent from users.

Meanwhile, Grindr, the popular app for LGBT members is up for sale due to US security concerns. It was acquired by Chinese company Kunlun in 2018, but the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has ruled that its ownership poses a threat to national security.

It could get even worse in the near future, with some dating sites even going as far as trying to help you find your perfect match via DNA sampling.

You can listen to the full interview in the latest episode (ep.11) of the Pocket-lint podcast

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 19 July 2019.