8 social media red flags to look out for before you go on a date

Checking out your date ahead of time is common.

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Checking out your date ahead of time is common.
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Jet Cat Studio / Shutterstock

  • Many people look at a potential date on social media before meeting them in person.
  • You should look out for things like if they trash their ex online or aren’t online at all.
  • But of course, social media can’t tell you everything.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

The internet has changed pretty much everything about modern life, and that includes dating. We’re meeting people online, making reservations for dates online, and yes, using the power of social media to check them out before getting to meet them in person.

In fact, according to one survey by Elite Singles Australia, 75% of women and 59% of men have admitted to this behavior.

While it may not be romantic, checking out someone on social media beforehand can be an important tool in keeping yourself safe and also to make sure you want to go through with meeting them in person.

We asked social media and dating experts about some red flags to look out for on social media before going on a date. Of course, these should be taken with a grain of salt, since, as we all know, social media can be deceiving.

Your date doesn’t look single

There’s always the chance that someone just hasn’t updated the “It’s Complicated” status on Facebook in years, but if you see any hint of a partner and you’re looking for a monogamous relationship, this is an obvious red flag.

Altimese Nichole, digital brand strategist and publicist said that even if they don’t have a suspicious relationship status, comments can be an indicator too.

“Heavy comments of flattery are an indicator that it’s most likely happening in private messages as well,” Nichole said.

Of course, this person could just be a close friend, so this may not be a definite red flag, but still, something to be aware of.

Your date’s feelings about their ex are all over the internet

If your date has an ex, there shouldn’t be too much evidence, especially negative. Laura Bedrossian, vice president of social strategy at Hot Paper Lantern said “I would check out what they have shared about previous relationships, as this could be an indicator of what the person may share about you.” A few photos from when they dated are obviously normal, but paragraphs on how much they hate their ex is a major red flag.

Your date lives on the internet

Do they comment on every page they follow? Have long arguments in forums? Constantly tweet? If their incessant presence annoys you now, it’s probably not going to get better. This could be a red flag unless you too are active online.

Your date puts none of their life on the internet

If they have no online presence, that too can be a concern.

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If they have no online presence, that too can be a concern.
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Pixabay/stocknap

Kate Maclean, relationship expert at dating app, Plenty of Fish, said “It’s 2019, which means most people have a digital footprint in some shape or form.” Yes, they could just prefer living a life without social media, but there’s also a chance they gave you a fake name to avoid you finding them online or they’re offline for a more unsavory reason.

Of course, there could be a very good reason for this, so it’s something to note, but reserve judgment until you speak to them.

Your date’s interests don’t align with yours

Check your date’s interests for any deal breakers. Their “likes” can sometimes be public, as some public figures have found out recently. This could be a good way to see the type of content they’re engaging with – for better or worse.

“What your potential romantic interest likes and follows can be very telling,” Samya France, a director of PR and social media told INSIDER. “If he or she follow accounts that make you personally uncomfortable, take that as a sign. For example, if politics or religion are very important to you and the person you are going on a date with follows accounts that go against your beliefs, that right there should be a red flag.”

Your date has a huge amount of followers

They could be a scammer. The followers could be genuine if they post a lot of art or have moderate fame, but a huge amount means they may be obsessed with fame or are skilled at scamming people. Again, could be nothing, but could be a sign that they’re not for you, depending on who you are.

Your date has a really small amount of followers

Anything less than 100 may be suspicious, according to experts.

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Anything less than 100 may be suspicious, according to experts.
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Flickr/Alexandra Zakharova

Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer for BeenVerified, warns that a very small amount of followers is a red flag, too.

“Be aware of a person who has less than 100 friends unless it’s someone older. If their Facebook account has fewer than 100 friends, there’s a reason to be suspicious, especially for younger users.” However, Lavelle said that some people like teachers will often have little online presence to avoid students, so again, best to take this into account, too.

Your date hasn’t posted a new photo in a while

There are obvious caveats but if you can’t find any recent photos of them, it could be a sign that they want to deceive you.

Lisa Holden, online dating expert, said that when she once went to meet her date, he looked nothing like his photos and it threw her off. “He wasn’t a bad looking guy, my expectations were simply mismanaged,” she said.

“Days after the date, he asked me out again and I gently told him that I wasn’t interested because I felt a little deceived. I didn’t want to be rude, but I questioned if the photos on his profile were really him. He responded with a confused emoji and explained that in some photos he had facial hair and in others he did not.”

If they refuse to admit to fake or old photos, it’s a sign of serious problems and it’s probably best to back off.