After a 2019 investigative report scrutinizing the issue of sexual predators prowling on Match Group Inc dating apps and last year’s investment in the nonprofit platform Garbo, Match will now offer a background check option to Tinder users.
“For far too long, women and traditionally marginalized groups have faced many barriers to resources and safety,” said Tracey Breeden, Match Group Head of Safety and Social Advocacy. “Garbo’s thoughtful and innovative consumer background checks will drive the industry forward while empowering people with critical information to help inform personal safety choices.”
The tool can be accessed by US Tinder users through the blue shield logo in the app. This will direct them to Tinder Safety Centre, then to Garbo’s service. Users will get two free background searches, which will cost $2.50 per search plus processing fees afterward. Tinder, on the other hand, underscored that all proceeds go to Garbo.
In comparison with other background check services with $10 to $500 charges, Garbo is a more affordable option. This, according to the company, is the main objective of the service.
“We know that the biggest indicator of future abuse or violence is a history of these types of behaviors. Whether it’s online dating or the dozens of other ways we meet strangers in today’s digital age, we should know if we’re potentially putting our safety at risk,” stated Kathryn Kosmides, Garbo.io Founder and CEO. “We want to protect those most vulnerable to experiencing harm both online and offline and this is just the first step in delivering on our mission to help proactively prevent harm in the digital age.”
The search will start by requiring users to provide the basic details of the subject, such as phone number and name (it might ask for more if it couldn’t find any match). Once found, Garbo will provide essential information about the person, such as the history of violence, records of arrests and convictions, and sex offender registry records. From here, you as a user can report the findings to Tinder, allowing its parent company, Match, to remove the person from all the dating apps it owns. Users can also access mental health resources, which are meant for those already involved in toxic bonds from individuals they met through the platform.
“We don’t want people who have a harmful criminal history of violence against people on our platform,” Breeden added. “When we do find out about those people, they are banned and removed from not only the Tinder platform, but we can ban and remove them across all of our platforms.”
On the other hand, Match noted that there are particular pieces of information that Garbo won’t produce to stress the “equitable” nature of its background checks. These include vital information like home addresses and other data that disproportionally impact marginalized communities (public records regarding non-violent drug possession, loitering, vagrancy, minor traffic tickets, and vehicular manslaughter).