18 March 2021
Background checks on Tinder in the USA - one small step or a step too far?
In light of recent events it will surprise no one that dating websites and dating apps are looking into what steps they can take to increase the safety and security of its users, and reduce dating/relationship violence.
It is likely Tinder’s decision to roll-out background checks on its App will trouble those who already fear the intrusion of technology in a person’s private life. However, in truth the information Tinder plans to supply to its users is already publicly available in the US, and has been for a long time.
The BBC recently published an article announcing Tinder’s decision to be rolled-out in the US: Tinder to introduce in-app background checks - BBC News and Match Group (who are the parent company of Tinder) intend to extend this feature throughout all its subsidiaries.
Tinder has partnered with Garbo, a company which collates public-information relating to violence and/or abuse (including arrests, convictions, restraining orders, harassment, and other violent crimes) so that users will be alerted or at the very least have the option of viewing this information on the App prior to arranging a date with another user.
Tinder already has a policy that they will deactivate the account of those users who are reported by another user to have been violent. This is certainly a positive step, as is making their users aware of the availability of certain criminal records.
In the UK the public can review the sex offenders register, but (with the exception of employers requesting a DBS check or an enhanced check) the general public cannot access another individual’s criminal record. This is due to the difference in the criminal system, and public-policies here.
Dating Apps across the globe are trying to increase users safety and many are already employing photo-verification and video-calling (within apps) to ensure people know who they are speaking to.
Tinder last year launched a ‘panic button’ for its users – through which the app can alert emergency services to the user’s location and that they need help.
Tinder has not launched all of its safety features in the UK or Europe yet, but as noted above, this may be due to the need to comply with each countries’ legal requirements. It will be interesting to see what features dating-apps implement in the UK.