Starting today, Garbo’s new online background check platform will be made available to the general public in the U.S., and will also be launched to Tinder members via Tinder’s Safety Centre, marking a first-of-its-kind partnership for the dating industry.
Match Group previously announced a significant contribution to Garbo to help the non-profit organisation accelerate its growth and adoption across the technology industry.
Founded by Kathryn Kosmides, Garbo enables individuals to easily access public information about violent or harmful behaviour, including arrests, convictions, and sex offender registry records. Garbo seeks to democratise access to public safety information, which has traditionally been cost-prohibitive and difficult to obtain, and empowers people to make more informed decisions about who they interact with in real life.
Match Group is also partnering with the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) to ensure survivors have 24/7 access to resources and information, including a direct chat connection on Garbo. Garbo users seeking more information about healthy relationships and relationship abuse will now have the ability to “live chat” with a highly-trained advocate from The Hotline — a frontline resource for survivors and a trusted provider of information, referrals, and safety planning. The Hotline’s advocates provide high-quality, trauma-informed education, validation, and connection to services that empower victims and survivors to make life-changing decisions with dignity and respect.
Garbo works alongside dozens of experts and advocates – including through its internal Advocacy Council, which includes individuals from the National Centre for Victims of Crime, the Centre for Court Innovation, and EndTAB (Ending Technology-Enabled Abuse) – to find the balance between privacy and safety. Garbo’s offence reporting policy is designed to return search results relevant to the user’s safety and exclude certain offences like drug possession, loitering, and vagrancy, which often disproportionately affect traditionally marginalised communities. Garbo also excludes additional personal identifying information, such as home addresses and phone numbers.
Each search on Garbo costs $2.50 plus a small processing fee per transaction. At launch, Tinder will offer two free background check searches to each user, up to 500,000 free searches total. All costs go directly to Garbo to fund operations and the fees associated with record searches.
Kathryn Kosmides, founder of Garbo said: “We know that the biggest indicator of future abuse or violence is a history of these types of behaviours. Whether it’s online dating or the dozens of other ways we meet strangers in today’s digital age, we should know if we’re potentially putting our safety at risk. We want to protect those most vulnerable to experiencing harm both online and offline and this is just the first step in delivering on our mission to help proactively prevent harm in the digital age.”
Tracey Breeden, Head of Safety and Social Advocacy at Match Group, said: “For far too long women and traditionally marginalised groups have faced many barriers to resources and safety. Garbo’s thoughtful and innovative consumer background checks will drive the industry forward while empowering people with critical information to help inform personal safety choices.”