Things are changing for dating websites and dating apps. After years of safety and due diligence largely falling under the purview of users connecting with potential romantic interests, more and more dating services are implementing background checks and other safety features to protect their users. This trend could reshape online dating forever, putting more accountability on the shoulders of the companies behind dating services and apps.
In March, Match Group—the parent company of Tinder as well as other dating services such as OkCupid, Hinge, and PlentyOfFish—announced plans to implement a background check feature as part of the Tinder dating app. Match initially indicated that the background check feature would launch sometime in 2021.
As of yet, there hasn’t been additional information from the company about when or how Tinder will start vetting users. Per a recent report from TechCrunch, Tinder expects that “it will have more information to share about background checks” this fall. Those background checks will be powered by Garbo, a background check service “designed to help proactively prevent gender-based violence in the digital age.”
The TechCrunch article discussed a separate but related new feature that will soon come to Tinder: ID verification, which will allow users to voluntarily verify their accounts with legal identification. Such verifications could check a person’s name, age, and other information, such as whether they are on sex offender registries. While the service is voluntary, users who go through the verification process will get a blue checkmark on their profiles. Someone matched with a verified account could then confirm that the person they were matched to was being honest about their identity and other basic information.
In addition to the TechCrunch story, the Los Angeles Times recently ran a profile about Tracey Breeden, the woman Match Group hired as its new head of safety and social advocacy. Breeden was the architect behind the company’s investment in, and partnership with, Garbo. In the article, Breeden shares that Tinder will be beta testing the background check features starting this fall, and that it will make background check options available to Tinder users for “less than the cost of a cup of coffee.”
The Times piece also shares some information about how the checks will work, noting that Tinder users will be able “to submit verifiable documents like restraining orders, civil suits, or police reports since most cases of domestic violence and sexual assault don’t end in conviction.”
Perhaps because of the big announcement this year regarding Tinder and Match Group, background checks seem to be becoming more common in online dating. This list features 10 sites—including Match.com—that are now or soon will be offering due diligence checks on users. For instance, OurTime, a dating site for seniors, incorporates ID verification and a detailed round of personal questions into its user background check process; while MillionaireMatch, intended to connect high earners, verifies incomes.
Even if a dating app or dating site doesn’t currently offer background checks, users can vet potential matches on their own terms. At backgroundchecks.com, we have a partnership with BeenVerified that makes it easy to run background searches on friends, neighbors, professional colleagues, or romantic interests.
About Michael Klazema The author
Michael Klazema is Chief Marketing Technologist at EY-VODW.com and has over two decades of experience in digital consulting, online product management, and technology innovation. He is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments.