Joel Balcita shows his homemade Tinder App costume at the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval, which attracts nearly 500,000 people annually, in West Hollywood, California Oct. 31, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

UPDATE: May 2, 12:47 a.m. EDT — A Tinder spokesperson reached out to International Business Times and provided the company's response to several profile photos being hacked.

“We take the security and privacy of our users seriously and have tools and systems in place to uphold the integrity of our platform. It's important to note that Tinder is free and used in more than 190 countries, and the images that we serve are profile images, which are available to anyone swiping on the app. We are always working to improve the Tinder experience and continue to implement measures against the automated use of our API, which includes steps to deterand prevent scraping. This person has violated our terms of service (Sec. 11) and we are taking appropriate action and investigating further,” the company stated in an email to IBT.

Original story:

Your Tinder selfies may not be as secure as you believe. You might have uploaded your best photos to the dating site, but they could be used for almost any other purpose, without your permission, as highlighted in a TechCrunch report Friday.

Read: Tinder Online: Dating App Adds Web, Desktop Version

According to the report, a user of Kaggle, a Google-owned machine-learning platform, recently exploited flaws in Tinder’s application programming interface (API) to download 40,000 selfies posted on Tinder – 20,000 of each sex.

Stuart Colianni created a dataset called People of Tinder, which consists of six downloadable zip files of people’s profile photos from Tinder. The zip files contain multiple photos from single users, which means there might be less than 40,000 Tinder users at stake here. More worryingly, since also uploaded the script he used to scrape the photos to GitHub, it might allow others to do so too.

Colianni called it a “simple script to scrape Tinder profile photos for the purpose of creating a facial dataset,” and said that Tinder offered “near unlimited access to create a facial dataset” and is an efficient way for mining data. He added that he was "disappointed" with other datasets.

“The datasets tend to be extremely strict in their structure, and are usually too small," he wrote on his GitHub page. "Tinder gives you access to thousands of people within miles of you. Why not leverage Tinder to build a better, larger facial dataset?”

It is still not clear whether Colianni is aware that he may have put the privacy of many Tinder users at risk. However, the fact is that he dumped the photographs of thousands of Tinder users online without their permission. These users also do not have any control over what these photos could now be used for.

While Colianni claimed he was using these photos for research, and for trying to create a convolutional neural network capable of distinguishing between men and women, some images posted on the site are quite intimate.

For all we know, Colianni might be genuinely using the photos for research — although the claim is questionable as many of the images posted to Tinder are not natural, and are highly edited, and would actually not be a proper dataset for any research, except one on how edited photos look. However, the bigger issue is how careful Tinder is with its users' data, which mostly contains photographs not uploaded to the open web.

Read: How To Get Dates On Tinder: AI Could Be The Answer

TechCrunch was only able to reverse image search one of the photos and trace it back to a student at San Jose State University since she had used the same image on another social network. When contacted and told about her photo being repurposed, she not said that she hadn’t given anyone permission to anyone to use her image.

“I don’t like the idea of people using my pictures for some sad ‘researches,” she told the publication, asking not to be identified in the report.