Reporters talked to several women who allege that dating apps and sites like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and Match had connected them with users who would ultimately prove to be predatory.Some men (and they were almost all men) had been accused and sometimes convicted of sexual assault; several of those cases concerned registered sex offenders, whose records ostensibly would have been surfaced in a background check.
The company also makes users promise that they will not “bully, ‘stalk,’ intimidate, assault, harass, mistreat or defame any person,” and stipulates that it “reserves the right to investigate and/or terminate [an] account without a refund of any purchases if [a user] violated this Agreement, misused the Service or behaved in a way that Tinder regards as inappropriate or unlawful, including actions or communications that occur on or off the Service.” But as Pro Publica points out, it’s notoriously difficult to monitor whether users violate those rules or break those promises unless survivors of harassment or assault self-report — and if a perpetrator unmatches with you before you do that, you typically lose access to messages that might bolster your claims.
In an MTV Insights study released in October, 84 percent of female respondents who use dating apps said they are concerned about matching with and meeting a person who turns out to be predatory; 60 percent of male respondents noted the same concern.
“Meeting somebody that you have no idea who they are, no idea what they’re capable of… Even so, 62 percent of people still believe dating apps are a better alternative to blind dates.
And while most people feel positively about using apps to meet other people, there’s little data about any actual risk involved in putting yourself out there in the quest to find true love, a cuddle buddy, or anything in between.
A new investigative report from Pro Publica, Buzz Feed, and Columbia Journalism Investigations (CJI) published Tuesday (December 2) underscores that risk.