Tinder: Users can now run background checks on matches

Users will be entitled to two free background checks, after which they will have to pay £1.90 per search.

Tinder users can now conduct background checks on their matches before meeting them in person. This new feature is to make online dating safer for users of the largest dating platform.

‘Safety’s hard’

The background check is made possible with a partnership with Garbo, a startup that runs low-cost background checks. For the first two checks that users conduct, they will pay nothing, but subsequent searches will come at a cost of $2.50 (£1.92) each. This fee does not include processing fees.

The decision to offer background checks to users was to make them feel safe. Head of safety and social advocacy at Tinder parent company Match Group, Tracey Breeden, said:

Nobody wants to step into a space that's complex, that's difficult. Safety's hard. And we have to be a part of the conversation. We have to help find a solution.

The partnership with Garbo is Tinder’s way of playing a part in finding a solution to the safety issue concerning online dating, she added.

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False sense of safety?

With this new feature, users will now be armed with information that can make them feel safe about their dating choices, but sexual violence and surveillance experts say the move could be counterproductive. They warn that it will only amplify the biases that exist in the criminal justice system.

Nicole Bedera, a sociologist who has researched sexual violence and who previously worked as a victim advocate, said:

We know that sexual violence is so rarely reported and we know that convictions are so incredibly rare even when it is reported. You're going to be missing a lot of really dangerous people through using criminal records and background checks as a proxy for safety. It can create this false sense of safety when it shouldn't be there.

Bedera said, Tinder and Match Group, should redirect the resources they’re investing in tech features and products, to offline efforts to educate and prevent sexual violence.

Garbo states on its website:

Most violent individuals never interact with the criminal justice system
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