Dating app Tinder will give U.S. users a way to check if potential dates have been convicted of a violent crime, experts warn that checks have limitations.
Match Group, the app’s parent company, announced Wednesday that it will begin offering access to Garbo, a new U.S. online background check platform that can show if anyone has a history of violence.
After navigating Garbo through the Tinder app, users enter names, phone numbers, or other details about a possible date to check the registry information of arrests, convictions, and sex offenders.
Dating apps, including Tinder, have been pressured to take action after women reported being sexually harassed by men connected through the platform.
“This is the first step in our mission to actively help prevent damage in the digital age,” Garbo founder Katherine Cosmids said in a statement.
The match states that up to 500,000 free Garbo searches will be offered, followed by a check for $ 2.50 (approximately Rs. 190) and a processing fee.
Garbo said the search results excluded some offenses, such as drug possession, gossiping or hanging out, and did not provide personal details such as home address and phone number.
The agency said in a blog post that the service aims to prevent violence by providing information, but noted its limitations.
“Most violent individuals never contact the criminal justice system, and due to judicial challenges, Garbo does not have access to all records across the United States,” the post said.
Nicole Bedera, a researcher on sexual violence, told AFP that sexual harassment was often not reported to authorities and that registered cases were a hindrance to justice.
“It’s a very low-crime offense. And even when the cases go through the criminal justice system – no matter what country you’re in – you’re going to see a lower conviction rate,” he added.
Sarah Legion, an associate professor at the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, points to the incompleteness of the criminal record as well as their racial bias.
“Many white sex offenders have no criminal record and many blacks have a misleading or unjustified attitude,” he noted.
Garbo, for his part, points to the realities and risks of the present.
“In today’s digital age, we’re connecting with more strangers than ever before – yet we increasingly know little about who we’re meeting,” the company noted.
“What if we can prevent some harm against ourselves and our community?” Ask it.