Australia: Dating Apps Must Share Safety Information

Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, has said that dating apps must share information about bad actors. This is the latest chapter in the country’s campaign to make online dating safer.

Grant stated that her office may start issuing legal notices to online dating platforms, requesting them to share how they are responding to violent behaviour. She also highlighted that dating apps should make their complaints tools easier and more visible.

To prevent predators from simply moving from one dating platform to another, Grant said “We’re asking dating apps to work together, and once they detect bad actors, to share that information.”

Fake accounts were another area of concern, with some linked to sexual extortion among other behaviours. Tech platforms can track IP addresses or analyse text patterns to identify and stop people from setting up multiple of these fake accounts, she said.

The statement comes as the Commission released statistics showing nearly one third of citizens have received unwanted inappropriate content online, The Guardian reported. In a survey of 4783 individuals, three quarters of adults shared that they experienced at least one negative experience online in the last year.

While some Australian politicians suggested that individuals with a criminal history of domestic abuse should be banned from dating apps, Grant urged caution. She explained that this may raise privacy concerns, and may not be effective as bad actors may not have a criminal history.

The eSafety Commissioner shared that her organisation saw a rise in online abuse during the pandemic, however the bad behaviour has continued despite the pandemic lessening.