Related video: Tinder to allow users to perform a background check on their matches
US users of the mobile dating app Tinder who are concerned about a match will now be able to conduct confidential background checks on them before meeting them in real life.
The news comes after the app’s owners Match Group – who are also behind brands such as Hinge, Match, OkCupid and PlentyOfFish – announced last year that it would be partnering with the background check non-profit Garbo to “empower people to make more informed decisions” about their safety.
The tool, available to Americans aged over 18, allows users to confidentially search a database “to see if someone has a history of violence, including arrests, convictions, and sex offender registry information”.
Certain offences such as drug possession, loitering and vagrancy (homelessness) will not appear in Garbo’s search results as they “often disproportionately affect traditionally marginalised community”.
Tinder users will first get two free background checks before having to pay a $2.50 processing fee, which funds the organisation’s work.
Tracey Breeden, Match Group’s head of safety and social advocacy, said: “For far too long women and traditionally marginalised groups have faced many barriers to resources and safety.
“Garbo’s thoughtful and innovative consumer background checks will drive the industry forward while empowering people with critical information to help inform personal safety choices.”
To access Garbo, Tinder users can tap on the blue shield icon within the app and navigate to the ‘tools’ section of its Safety Centre, where a Garbo article can be found directing them to the brand’s website.
Individuals will then be prompted to fill in basic information about their match, which can be as basic as their name and phone number. Other details such as their age may also be requested if the person’s search does not return any results.
However, the two organisations warn that the absence of a report or details of a history of violence on Garbo does not mean an individual is “safe”, and call on users to “trust your instincts” and refer to Tinder’s safety advice when meeting someone offline.
They also encourage people to report a match to Tinder should Garbo reveal that they have a violent history.
Kathryn Kosmides, founder of Garbo, added: “We know that the biggest indicator of future abuse or violence is a history of these types of behaviours. 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.
“We want to protect those most vulnerable to experiencing harm both online and offline and this is just the first step in delivering on our mission to help proactively prevent harm in the digital age.”
Indy100 has approached Tinder for a comment as to when the feature will be available in other countries such as the UK.
The national domestic abuse helpline can offer support on 0808 2000 247, or you can visit the Women's Aid website. For those in the US, the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Other international helplines can be found via www.befrienders.org
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