Match extends background check to two more dating apps TechCrunch
Match Group expands partnership with background check service garbo, a nonprofit founded by women and survivors, is bringing the free safety feature to its namesake app, Match, and single-parent dating app, Stir, after its initial launch on Tinder. The new feature gives dating app users easy access to public information about arrests, convictions and records of sex offenders. If a user discovers that their potential date has a history of violence, they can report the account for deletion and block the user.
The call for increased protections follows numerous reports over the years that have highlighted potential safety issues associated with online dating, including the risk of sexual assault, harassment and violence.
And while everyone should take safety precautions when dating online, it’s even more necessary for people with children to weigh the risks of bringing a stranger they met online into their lives. This new feature on Stir can help ease the minds of single parents in this regard.
Match and Stir will start popping up a prompt with a link to Garbo’s website in the app’s chat feature. If you message someone and arrange a meeting with them, a box will appear asking if you want to perform a background check. The option is also available in Application Security Centers.
Premium users will receive four free searches, while free subscribers will receive two background searches. Members can then purchase search credits directly from Garbo for $3.25 to $2.50 per search plus a small processing fee of $0.75.
Tracey Breeden, safety and social advocacy manager for Match Group, wrote in a announcement, “The goal is to democratize access to information by providing low-cost background checks, which have historically been difficult to access and prohibitively expensive.”
According to Match Group, more of its US brands will also see the background check feature added. The company has not yet specified when and where these updates will be made.
To search for a potential date, users must provide the person’s name and phone number. If Garbo is still unable to extract relevant public records, the user may need to provide age, location, and other details. This might be difficult for some people as it is difficult to request a date for their address because you are suspicious of them.
The maker of the dating app notes that the person will not be notified that you are performing a background check.
Because of the dating app confidentiality requirements, Match cannot provide information that you do not already know based on the person’s profile or what they have told you personally. Garbo and Match are separate entities, so no search information is shared between the companies.
Match Group has been accused of failing to screen its services in the past. In 2019, a report by ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations addressed the issue of sexual predators on dating apps owned by Match.
In January 2020, Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Economic and Consumer Policy Sub-Committee, launched an investigation in some of the biggest dating platforms following reports that underage users were on the apps, companies were selling or sharing personal data and free dating apps allow registered sex offenders to use them.
“Our concern about the use of dating apps by minors is reinforced by reports that many popular free dating apps allow registered sex offenders to use them, while paid versions of these same apps screen out sex offenders. Protection from sexual predators should not be a luxury reserved for paying customers,” wrote President Krishnamoorthi.
In an effort to help tackle issues around sexual violence, Match Group invested seven figures in 2021 ahead of Garbo’s public launch. Earlier this year, the company introduced Garbo-powered background checks to Tinder, its flagship dating app. Match Group funds the two to four free searches for users, according to the Tinder site.