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Tinder will let you perform background checks before swiping right for $2.50

March 10, 2022, 11:12 AM UTC

Popular dating app Tinder is now helping you find a huge red flag before a potential date—a violent criminal history.

Tinder’s parent company, Match Group, which owns a number of other apps including, OkCupid, and Hinge, is now providing criminal background checks to users on its flagship app Tinder, for $2.50 a check.

The new feature will be performed by Garbo, a nonprofit background check platform, which Match group made a seven-figure investment in one year ago. When the feature is used, Garbo will find arrests and convictions for certain violent crimes as well as sex offender registry status, with a level of confidence of high, medium, or low.

“We know that the biggest indicator of future abuse or violence is a history of these types of behaviors. Whether it’s online dating or the dozens of other ways we meet strangers in today’s digital age, we should know if we’re potentially putting our safety at risk,” Kathryn Kosmides, founder of Garbo, said in a statement with Tinder.

The new feature will be found in the app’s safety center, accessible via a blue shield icon that will take users to the Garbo website. There, they will be able to fill in basic information regarding their match, which usually just requires a first name and phone number, to get a background check from the Garbo database.

Once the results are in, Tinder users can choose how they wish to proceed. However, “members are encouraged to report a match to Tinder if they are found to have a history of violence,” the company said in a statement.

In its existing policies, Match Group removes any account where a user has been accused of sexual assault or other violent crimes by another user across all its apps.

Women’s safety and social equitability

However, for those with minor offenses in nonviolent crimes, which disproportionately affect marginalized communities, Garbo has taken measures to ensure that they won’t be kicked out of the modern dating pool.

Garbo looks up only critical information, which would indicate a history of violence. It excludes nonviolent drug crimes, loitering, and minor traffic tickets (though DUIs and vehicular manslaughter will be flagged). It also doesn’t include arrests and convictions for financial crimes that happened more than seven years ago, or homicides or robberies that took place 14 years in the past. 

Garbo also notes that they don’t return any personal information, like home addresses and phone numbers, as its rivals do, to avoid stalking, doxxing, or other forms of harassment.

As the popularity of dating apps has soared in recent years, so has the number of sexual assaults associated with the swiping. A BBC investigation found the number of reported sexual assault cases linked to dating apps doubled in the U.K. between 2017 and 2020.

Tracey Breeden, head of safety and social advocacy at Match Group, said in a statement, “For far too long women and traditionally marginalized groups have faced many barriers to resources and safety.”

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