A globally popular dating app Tinder is now adding a background check feature to its platform in the US to let users run a background check on a potential date.
Later on, Tinder will permit its users to view public records information of any potential date using their name or mobile number. The company took this step as user safety for digital dating is under scrutiny.
This means Tinder users will be able to analyze their dates with details like their arrest record or a history of violence if any and let users run background checks on prospective dates. This would likely affect who finds success on the app and who doesn’t.
Besides Tinder, the parent company Match Group also owns – PlentyOfFish, OkCupid, and Hinge. Match Group plans to include the feature across all of its platforms at a later stage.
The Match Group team will begin testing and building out capabilities for Garbo on Tinder soon, and once Garbo is integrated into Tinder, other Match Group US brands could follow.
To provide the background paid service, Match Group has tied up with Garbo, a background checking platform, to provide the paid service. It has also invested a stake in Garbo. However, Match didn’t disclose the amount of the investment.
Match Group’s Head of Safety and Social Advocacy Tracey Breeden said, “We at Tinder recognize corporations can play a key role in helping remove those barriers with technology, and a true collaboration rooted in action.”
The background checks on Tinder will not be free of cost, and Match is working with Garbo to figure out how to charge for them and what will be the best price to make them accessible to most of the users. It’s unclear if the price will be clubbed with the dating app’s subscription or will the company offer it as an à la carte feature.
Garbo, the background checking company, was founded by women and it collects public records and reports of violence or abuse like convictions, restraining orders, harassment, arrests, and other violent crimes to create its reports.
However, the checks do not include any drug charges or traffic violations. In a blog post, Garbo said, “The research indicates that there is no link between drug possession and gender-based violence.”
User safety has become an important issue for digital dating firms amid a rise in awareness about their risks. Currently, if a user reports someone to Tinder or their sister apps, the account of the offender is removed.
Tinder and its rival app Bumble have also introduced tools like photo verification and in-app video calling to prove people are who they claim to be.
In January 2020, Tinder even added a panic button feature that would store the information about a date, including location data, and alert emergency services if it was pressed.
Sarah Sawrey-Cookson, communications director at Get Safe Online, has praised Match’s plan to add the background checks feature.
Sarah Sawrey-Cookson said, “We have always emphasized the need for online daters to exercise caution and check the person, not the profile. That is why we appreciate any initiative by any app that enables the people to carry out better diligence before they get into a relationship that could end up being damaging.”
Garbo’s tool is not yet live on Tinder, so we cannot be sure about its accuracy, but this could depend on how anonymous people feel on a dating app, especially on Tinder. Tinder has constantly emphasized personal details like the last name and full bio details on profiles. Match will not share its users’ data with Garbo, but users can run a background check so long as they get their date’s last name or phone number, which they likely would want to share if they plan to move forward with dating on the platform.