It was announced today that the online dating app Tinder will allow for background checks on all of a user’s matches.
It’s impossible to say “Swiper, no swiping” to creeps online. But, with access to the public records of crime and abuse that they might have, Tinder will hopefully be a safer place for users.
A press release from today explained that the app’s parent company, Match Group, has partnered with Garbo: a female-led, non-profit background checking platform.
Later in 2021, with just their name or phone number, users will be able to perform quick searches on their matches.
For those who watched Tinder: A Predator’s Playground, a joint Four Corners and triple j Hack investigation on the ABC, this news is refreshing. The television program detailed the sexual assault experienced by some Australian Tinder users.
Incredibly important story on #FourCorners tonight exposing the outrageous failures of @Tinder to address women’s safety and their complaints of sexual violence. #CorporateSocialResponsibility #ConsistentPolicing #CriminaliseCoerciveControl #WomensSafety https://t.co/b5bTQ0Ou9z
— Women’s Safety NSW (@womenssafetynsw) October 12, 2020
When the program aired, the online dating app’s response was less than satisfying.
— Sally Neighbour (@neighbour_s) October 12, 2020
Tinder couldn’t put anyone on camera to defend the company on Four Corners but of course the morning after there’s a X,000 word blog post about how hard they try https://t.co/QMfjIYE8Cb
— jack gramenz (@JackGramenz) October 13, 2020
Cut to five months later and, now, Tinder are working towards improving their safety measures. “For far too long women and marginalised groups in all corners of the world have faced many barriers to resources and safety,” said Match Group Head of Safety Tracey Breeden.
“We recognise corporations can play a key role in helping remove those barriers with technology and true collaboration rooted in action.”
This is where Garbo comes in. Founded by Kathryn Kosmides, who identifies as a survivor of gender-based violence, the collaboration with Garbo will mean that users can access important information about their matches. However, in progressive news: “As part of its active stance toward equity, Garbo excludes arrests related to drug possession and traffic violations, which have a disproportionate impact on marginalised groups,” said the press release.
Tinder is working with background check nonprofit Garbo. Name refers to how the current systems for background checks, criminal justice and survivors of violence operate, founder Kathryn Kosmides says.
“We say that’s what the current systems are: garbage.” https://t.co/hlNxlDYNoJ
— Rachel Lerman (@rachelerman) March 16, 2021
The only catch is that this feature will not be free. At least not at first. Tinder has not announced how much users will have to spend to access the background check capabilities but, for some, a few dollars is a small price to pay for safety. It should also be noted that the information provided by Garbo will be limited to cases of assault that were actually reported. As stated by Pedestrian: “unfortunately, a majority of people who experience sexual assault do not report it, or are rejected by police who do not believe a sexual assault occurred.”
Along with unreported violence is the issue of fake names, proving that there are still many hurdles in the way of ensured safety on Tinder. Luckily, like the Tinder flame logo itself, things are looking bright. “Before Garbo, abusers were able to hide behind expensive, hard-to-find public records and reports of their violence; now that’s much harder,” said Kathryn Kosmides. For now, we’ll take what we can get.