Free dating services owned by Match Group, including Tinder, PlentyofFish, and OkCupid, are frequently used by registered sex offenders.
While Match Group’s subscription-based product, Match.com, screens many users against sex offender registries, people on its other services are left to fend for themselves, according to a disturbing investigation by ProPublica, Buzzfeed, and Columbia Journalism Investigations. The report reveals how convicted sex criminals are able to rejoin the apps and how Match Group is both poorly equipped and unmotivated to stop them.
Amidst several horror stories where women matched with and then were sexually assaulted by men on a Match Group dating service, the investigation reveals that sex offenders were able to easily circumvent whatever security protocols the apps had in place. Typically, that involved little more than checking a box agreeing to follow the rules.
“There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products,” a Match Group spokesperson told CJI.
Match Group has long argued that there are too many blind spots on existing registries to make screening worthwhile for the company — but former employees told CJI that the registries had improved in recent years. And since none of the sexual crimes investigated by CJI occurred through Match.com, it seems likely that the screens do good.
But extending those screenings to the rest of Match Group’s services would be hard, since several of them don’t collect enough user information to let the company effectively compare people against sex offender registries even if it wanted to.
READ MORE: Tinder Lets Known Sex Offenders Use the App. It’s Not the Only One. [ProPublica]
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