Most victims, almost all women, met their male attackers through Tinder, Ok Cupid, Plenty of Fish or Match.” The report also found that “in 10% of the incidents, dating platforms matched their users with someone who had been accused or convicted of sexual assault at least once,” though “only a fraction of these cases involved a registered sex offender.Yet the analysis suggests that Match’s screening policy has helped to prevent the problem: Almost all of these cases implicated Match Group’s free apps; the only service that scours sex offender registries, Match, had none.” Several women told CJI that they had reported abusers to the platforms on which they had met them, either shortly after the assailant had attacked them, or after they found the same or a new profile featuring that assailant’s information.Reporters talked to several women who allege that dating apps and sites like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and Match had connected them with users who would ultimately prove to be predatory.Some men (and they were almost all men) had been accused and sometimes convicted of sexual assault; several of those cases concerned registered sex offenders, whose records ostensibly would have been surfaced in a background check.It seems that phones are the de facto way to do anything these days — dating, included.One study found that around 40 percent of people in new, heterosexual relationships met online; another reported that as of 2018, at least 5 million Americans had used dating apps, and around 30 percent of those users were between the ages of 18 and 29.
Scrolling through his pictures, she saw a 54-year-old man, balding and broad, dressed in a T-shirt.Papamechail lived near her home in a suburb of Boston and, like Deveau, was divorced.His dating app profile said he wanted "to find someone to marry." Deveau had used dating websites for years, but she told her adult daughter the men she met were "dorky." She joked about how she could get "catfished" if a date looked nothing like his picture. The two were — in the popular dating platform's jargon — "matched." A background check would have revealed that Papamechail was a three-time convicted rapist.But over this same period, as Match evolved into the publicly traded Match Group and bought its competitors, the company hasn't extended this practice across its platforms — including Plentyof Fish, its second most popular dating app.The lack of a uniform policy allows convicted and accused perpetrators to access Match Group apps and leaves users vulnerable to sexual assault, a 16-month investigation by Columbia Journalism Investigations found.“A positive and safe user experience is our top priority, and we are committed to realizing that goal every day.” Tinder currently provides a user’s safety guide for both on-app and in-person interactions, which focuses largely on how people can protect their own safety; a paragraph about the ongoing and enthusiastic nature of consent outsources to RAINN’s guidelines.The company also makes users promise that they will not “bully, ‘stalk,’ intimidate, assault, harass, mistreat or defame any person,” and stipulates that it “reserves the right to investigate and/or terminate [an] account without a refund of any purchases if [a user] violated this Agreement, misused the Service or behaved in a way that Tinder regards as inappropriate or unlawful, including actions or communications that occur on or off the Service.” But as Pro Publica points out, it’s notoriously difficult to monitor whether users violate those rules or break those promises unless survivors of harassment or assault self-report — and if a perpetrator unmatches with you before you do that, you typically lose access to messages that might bolster your claims.And while most people feel positively about using apps to meet other people, there’s little data about any actual risk involved in putting yourself out there in the quest to find true love, a cuddle buddy, or anything in between.A new investigative report from Pro Publica, Buzz Feed, and Columbia Journalism Investigations (CJI) published Tuesday (December 2) underscores that risk.In an MTV Insights study released in October, 84 percent of female respondents who use dating apps said they are concerned about matching with and meeting a person who turns out to be predatory; 60 percent of male respondents noted the same concern.“Meeting somebody that you have no idea who they are, no idea what they’re capable of… Even so, 62 percent of people still believe dating apps are a better alternative to blind dates.