Tinder is rolling out a background check feature which shows criminal histories in the US

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 11:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 11:58 am
The new security feature will be launched later this year in the US (Photo: Shutterstock)
The new security feature will be launched later this year in the US (Photo: Shutterstock)

Dating app Tinder is set to roll out a new security feature which will let its users run background checks on their potential dates.

The company announced that it has made “a significant contribution to Garbo”, which is a female-founded, non profit background check platform.

The announcement was made by Tinder’s parent company Match Group, which also owns other dating sites like PlentyOfFish, OkCupid and Hinge.

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‘Groundbreaking background checks’

Later in the year, Tinder users in the US will be able to view public records information of potential dates using their name or mobile number, which is needed to create a Tinder account.

Tracey Breeden, Head of Safety and Social Advocacy for Match Group, said: “For far too long, women and marginalised groups in all corners of the world have faced many barriers to resources and safety.

“We recognise corporations can play a key role in helping remove those barriers with technology and true collaboration rooted in action.

“In partnership with Match Group, Garbo’s thoughtful and groundbreaking consumer background check will enable and empower users with information, helping create equitable pathways to safer connections and online communities across tech.”

‘Collecting reports of abuse’

Garbo explains that it collects “public records and reports of violence or abuse, including arrests, convictions, restraining orders, harassment, and other violent crimes”.

The website also states that it accepts manually submitted “police report(s), order(s) or protection/restraining orders, and other legal documents that report abuse, harassment, or other crimes”.

In a blog post released in February, Garbo announced that it would not include “drug possession charges” as a step towards equity.

The post says: “The criminal justice system has been used to monitor substance possession in a way that promotes systemic inequality for decades.

“We are choosing to distance ourselves from a practice that promotes racism, hate and oppression. The research continues to show that there is no link between drug possession and gender based violence.”

‘Abusers could hide behind hard to reach public records’

Kathryn Kosmides, Founder and CEO of Garbo, said: “Before Garbo, abusers were able to hide behind expensive, hard to find public records and reports of their violence; now that’s much harder.

“Being able to reach historically underserved populations is fundamental to Garbo’s missions and the partnership with Match will help us connect with these communities.”

Match Group Advisory Council member Natalie Ludaway said: “Garbo is a tool to address the inequities and barriers to access that people have traditionally had with background checks.

“Match Group's partnership with Garbo is a real, meaningful step towards giving people access to information that can help make a real difference in their safety decisions.”

Will the feature come to the UK?

For now, the feature will be available, for a fee, for US users. The cost of service is yet to be announced.

There has been no comment on when the service might make its way to the UK.