House Democrats in the United States have revealed that they are investigating claims that registered sex offenders are on some Match Group-owned dating apps.
In a letter to Match Group’s new CEO, Shar Dubay, representatives registered their concern that some apps, including Tinder, Plenty of Fish and OkCupid, did not have an official system for identifying members with a history of sexual abuse.
While Match Group screens its premium users for past sex crimes, anyone who is signing up for a free account does not receive the same scrutiny.
According to Gizmodo, the letter read: “A review of the terms of service for Tinder, Hinge, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid shows that you already ask users to certify that they are not required to register as sex offenders.
“The failure to cross-reference all user responses with sex offender registries is deeply concerning.”
The letter also referred to a December investigation, co-published by ProPublica, BuzzFeed, and Columbia Journalism Investigations, which discovered that out of all the incidents of sexual assault they investigated, 10% of the victims had been matched with convicted sex offenders.
A Match Group spokesperson replied: “A positive and safe user experience is our top priority, and we are committed to working with all parties to realize that goal every day.”
The letter was signed by U.S. Representatives Annie Kuster, Jan Schakowsky, Bobby L. Rush, Anna G. Eshoo, Eliot L. Engel, Kathy Castor, Jerry McNerney, Scott H. Peters, Debbie Dingell, Robin L. Kelly, and Tom O’Halleran.
Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommitte Jan Schakowsky added: “Consumers should feel safe using services like Tinder, Match.com, OkCupid and other similar sites, and it’s critical that these companies have strong terms of service that they can and will enforce.
Other governments have already discussed the possibility of introducing more stringent rules to prevent sex offenders reoffending through dating apps. In July 2018, the Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, said that banning convicted sex offenders from dating apps was “a very good idea.”
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