Wondering whether the online dating prospect you just matched with has a history of violent behavior?
A new partnership struck between Dallas-based Match Group and a New York startup could bring peace of mind to single women dating online.
Match Group is making a seven-figure investment in backgrounding non-profit Garbo, a company that aims to “proactively prevent gender-based violence in the digital age.” Match Group will begin integrating Garbo’s background checks into its Tinder app this year, followed by other dating apps owned by the company. Match Group owns Tinder, Match, OKCupid, Hinge, PlentyOfFish and various international dating platforms.
Garbo “democratizes” access to criminal records historically offered at higher cost by for-profit companies, according to the companies. It was founded in 2018 by gender-based violence survivor Kathryn Kosmides. Garbo collects publicly available records on arrests, convictions, restraining orders, harassment, and other violent crimes.
“Before Garbo, abusers were able to hide behind expensive, hard-to-find public records and reports of their violence; now that’s much harder,” Garbo founder and CEO Kathryn Kosmides said in a statement. “Being able to reach historically underserved populations is fundamental to Garbo’s mission and the partnership with Match will help us connect with these communities.”
Match Group also owns a handful of more niche dating apps like OurTime, which caters to senior citizens, and BLK, which caters to the Black community.
More than 1 in 10 women have experienced threats of physical harm while using online dating apps, according to Pew Research poll results published last year. That statistic is double for younger women ages 18-34, nearly 1-in-5 of whom said they’ve been on the receiving end of violent threats.
Match Group came under fire in 2019 after a ProPublica report found that the company allowed sexual predators on several of its platforms.
Tinder unveiled a handful of new safety features last year, including photo verification, as Match Group faced pressure to make its dating platforms safer for women. That pressure came not only from consumer advocates, but also through fierce competition with Austin-based Bumble, which has set the bar as a dating service that places women first.
In December, Match Group began a partnership with leading anti-sexual violence organization RAINN. It also tapped Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David and other experts for a council working to curb sexual violence, online harassment and abuse.
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