The dangers of online dating have come under scrutiny as user safety has become a recurring issue since apps like Tinder became popular. The folks in charge at Tinder have developed a plan to allow its users to do a background check on prospective dates by using their name and phone number, BBC News reports.
Amid heightened awareness about the risks of online dating, if a user reports information about someone’s violent past to Tinder or one of their sister apps, the offending account is removed.
Match Group, Tinder’s parent company, plans to include the feature across sister apps PlentyOfFish, OkCupid and Hinge at “a later date.” The parent company has partnered with Garbo to provide the paid background checking platform.
Per BBC, Garbo was founded by women and collects “public records and reports of violence or abuse, including arrests, convictions, restraining orders, harassment, and other violent crimes” to create its reports. Drug charges and traffic violations do not come up while using the service.
“The research continues to show that there is no link between drug possession and gender-based violence,” Garbo said in a statement last month.
A 2019 investigation by ProPublica found registered sex offenders on many of Match Group’s free dating platforms, to which a spokesperson said, “There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products.”
In January 2020, Tinder added a panic button feature that would store information about the date, location data, and alert emergency services if the button was pressed.
One month later, 11 members of Congress sent a letter addressed to Shar Dubey, the president of Match Group stating dating platforms like theirs must take “swift action to reduce the risk of sexual and dating violence against their users.”
Representative Annie Kuster said, “I am concerned that Match Group’s failure to check users against sex offender registries jeopardizes the well-being of the millions of Americans who use dating apps.”