Tinder users will soon be able to do background checks on matches before deciding to meet up for dates.
This comes as the app’s owner Match Group announced a deal with non-profit background check platform Garbo to use its historical information on incidents of violence and abuse.
The platform was created to combat gender-based violence by offering low-cost background checks through the collection of public records and reports of violence or abuse, including arrests, convictions, restraining orders, harassment, and other violent crimes.
“The Garbo partnership is part of Match Group’s commitment to investing in the latest technology and third-party expertise to combat bad actors and empower users with tools to help keep them safer,” the company said.
Match Group said it will begin testing and building out capabilities for Garbo on Tinder in the coming months.
Initially, the app will allow users to access Garbo’s platform in the US through integration with Tinder.
Once Garbo is adopted on Tinder later this year, other Match Group U.S. brands will follow. These may include platforms such as Match.com, Meetic, OkCupid, and PlentyOfFish.
Additional details on the implementation will be available over the next several months, Match Group added.
Tinder used by abusers
Reports of Tinder users – in particular women – suffering emotional and physical abuse at the hands of someone they had met on the app have surfaced time and again over the last few years.
An investigation by ABC noted one case in which a woman in Australia had taken her own life after being matched with and subsequently raped by another Tinder user, Glenn Hartland.
Hartland was found guilty on three counts of rape and one of sexual assault against several women he had met on Tinder.
A US-based study has also found that 57% of females who had used online dating apps and platforms like Tinder had received unsolicited explicit images.
Match Group has previously rolled out several features to improve the safety of Tinder, including photo verification and a panic button which alerts emergency services of a user in distress.
However, these features are limited primarily to the US, while the app is available in more than 190 countries, including South Africa.
It is unclear whether its background checking or other safety features will be available to South African users in future.