Match Group expands background checks to two more apps so users can screen dates
Match Group is expanding a partnership with background check service Garbo to roll out the safety feature to two more of its dating apps as singles push for more in-person meetups.
The company announced Tuesday that users on its namesake app, which is popular among serious daters, and Stir, which is designed for single parents, will have access to screen potential dates through the apps.
Match Group has been working with Garbo, a nonprofit background check platform that shows public records including arrests, convictions and sex offender registry information, since a 2021 investment in the company, the amount of which was undisclosed. Match Group said at the time it planned to expand its portfolio’s safety features.
The company then in March launched a pilot program with Garbo on Tinder, its most popular dating app. Each search costs $2.50 each plus a 75-cent processing fee per transaction.
The company declined to comment on how many people have used the service through Tinder, but said it has received positive feedback so far and has implemented that into this next rollout.
“We learned that we can be doing more in-app to surface Garbo, and additionally, better showcase all of the safety tools we have available to Match members,” a Match spokesperson said over email.
Match and Stir will start surfacing a prompt with a link to the Garbo site within the app’s chat function if it expects the users to meet in person. The offer is also available in the apps’ safety centers. Paid users will receive four free searches, while free subscribers will get two background searches.
Users are asked to input their potential date’s first name and phone number in order for Garbo to pull up any relevant public records. If that doesn’t work, other combinations, such as full name, age and location often can pull up the correct user, according to the company’s website.
Match Group has stepped up its efforts around user safety amid a broader government focus on consumer protection in the tech industry. The company has been accused of skirting screening measures for its free services in the past, allowing bad actors to use its platforms.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., chairman of the U.S. House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on economic and consumer policy, launched an investigation in January 2020 into some of the largest dating platforms following reports that underage users were on the apps, and that some companies were selling or sharing personal data.
A month later, 11 members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee called on Match Group to check users against sex offender registries and disclose its efforts to respond to reports of sexual violence that occurred when users met through the platform’s services.
Match Group told Gizmodo at the time that it shared the concerns of lawmakers and looked forward to working with them on the issue. It said that a positive and safe user experience is its top priority.
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