Match Group, the parent company of Tinder and many other dating apps, on March 15, 2021, announced its collaboration with Garbo, a non-profit people background check platform. This partnership aims to make online dating apps more secure by integrating the platform in their dating apps, such as OkCupid, Hinge, Paris, and other titles, to allow access to its users to the background information of the person they match with. The Match Group company is going to start off with Tinder in the US later this year and follow it up with the other apps as more and more data is collected.
What Does Garbo Do?
Garbo was founded in 2018 by Kathryn Kosmides, a survivor of gender-based violence, as a not-for-profit consumer online background check platform by providing low-cost background checks by collecting public records and reports of violence or abuse, including arrests, convictions, restraining orders, harassment, and other violent crimes. Garbo works closely with racial equity and gender justice groups to help address inequity in the experiences of people of color in the US criminal legal system. And in order to take a public stance against racial discrimination, they will be pardoning the arrests related to drug possession and traffic violation. They gather all the data from various authentic sources and arrange it for their client and partners.
The team at Garbo has published statistics in a post on their blog, which are based on reports from various agencies regarding racial discrimination in America. A report from The Sentencing Project states that 56 percent of African Americans in state prisons were arrested for drug offenses. While NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, reported that both black and white people use drugs at a similar rate, but the chances of imprisonment for a black American is six times higher than a white American. The US Department of Justice also stated that the people of color are at a higher risk of being heckled by the police and are harshly sentenced.
Associating with Match Group will further strengthen Garbo to achieve this goal. They essentially want to democratize access to information, allowing people to make more informed safety decisions. “For far too long, women and marginalized groups in all corners of the world have faced many barriers to resources and safety,” said Tracey Breeden, Head of Safety and Social Advocacy for Match Group. “We recognize corporations can play a key role in helping remove those barriers with technology and true collaboration rooted in action. In partnership with Match Group, Garbo’s thoughtful and groundbreaking consumer background check will enable and empower users with information, helping create equitable pathways to safer connections and online communities across tech.”
Love in the time of COVID-19
In 1985, Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote a rather ordinary love story in an extraordinary way and called it El amor en los tiempos del cólera. It was published in English in 1988 under the name Love in the Time of Cholera. Often times this title has been used to define various complexities of love or finding love. But dating apps such as Tinder, Hingle, Bumble, and others are also helping people re-write some of the old classics with safety measures in place and a touch of technology. Tinder was introduced on a college campus in 2012 and has become the world’s highest-grossing non-gaming app. Not affected by the pandemic much, Tinder has had 430 million downloads and 60+ billion matches so far.
However, cyber-safety is a question on everyone’s mind, those who go online. And Tinder may or may not have a great reputation in fully attaining people’s faith. For example, they added an In-App Video Chat feature last year, but again the question of feeling absolutely safe on video with a stranger, with not many safety guidelines mentioned by the company, comes down to the “it’s your call” moment. The “Does this bother you?” tool on the text chat does help monitor offensive language being used. But video calling is a completely different story.
Concerns with the background check feature
It is not clear as to how the Garbo platform will be used with dating apps. Surely, there will be a background check of someone one is talking to and going to meet. But whether the user will be able to access the data on their own or will be provided an option such as a redirect to their website has not been clarified yet. Also, let’s say there is a person, who has been arrested for rape, makes a profile on Tinder, and matches with someone. So, the question is whether the person will be given a warning about the other person’s offenses, or will there be just an option, which upon selected, will help you do a manual check on the platform?
Even after you receive the information and you choose not to meet that particular person, does this addition to Tinder and other Match Group dating apps will be able to ensure a person’s safety from others? Probably, not. But it at-least is a great step towards ensuring that the major red flags are kept away. Nonetheless, one has to be cautious when it comes to a point when you will have some physical meet and video chats with your match. Also, Garbo provides three online dating tips which may come in handy when you decide to meet your match. The first tip is to tell someone you trust about the person you are going to meet. The second is to leave as soon as things even slightly seem uncomfortable, and the third one is to prefer choosing a public place for at-least your first date.
YouTube: V Single podcast with Kathryn Kosmides, founder of Garbo
Photo credit: The feature image was done by Yuan Thirdy. The image “woman holding signage” has been taken by Jen Theodore. The photo “two men sitting on the ground” was taken by Fleur Brebels.
Source: Match Group press release / Tinder press release / Garbo blog post 1, 2
Editorial notice: Update April 6, 2021 – A typo was fixed based on reader feedback.