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Robert Edwards had been on the popular dating site OKCupid.com for about six months when the administrators asked him to be a community moderator. “They wrote and said I am a responsible user, whatever that means,” he recalled, admitting that at first he was befuddled. Though fairly active on the site, Edwards, a medical professional who lives in the Mission District, had remained a confirmed bachelor.

But curiosity drove him to click the “moderation” button, and within minutes he was reading people’s messages to each other and perusing profiles flagged for possible terms of service violations.

Online love-seekers might not be aware of it, but OKCupid has deputized random strangers to gain access to intimate conversations between others — correspondence that many users, as well as Internet privacy experts, assumed to be private.

Well, this is interesting. I mean, I get why the company is outsourcing this to free laborers, but wow. I wonder how many of these services’ users are aware of how moderation is performed