Dating app Tinder will soon be rolling out background checks to users in the US

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Meeting people from the internet has become so commonplace that we’ve more or less forgotten why it used to be considered a bad idea. Tinder, and many of its users, probably haven’t let it slip from front- to hind-brain, however. The dating app, owned by Match Group, will soon be rolling out a new feature to users: background checks.

It’s a reality that you might not be speaking to the person you think you’re talking to. Or that the person you’re talking to might be a psycho with a criminal record. Tinder’s new partnership with a company called Garbo hopes to put your mind at least in the latest in a series of measures designed to keep its users safer. Only, this feature isn’t going to land here in SA. Not for a while, anyway.

Safer Tinder usage

Background checks will be available to Tinder users first, before expanding to Match Group’s other properties: Match, OK Cupid, Hinge and others. How it works is that checks can be conducted through Garbo with either a full name or a first name and a phone number. Garbo keeps tabs on “public records and reports of violence or abuse, including arrests, convictions, restraining orders, harassment, and other violent crimes”, though it doesn’t dig through criminal data regarding drug possession.

The point, obviously, is to make sure you’re not hooking up with someone who has a history of domestic violence or violent crime — because those factors tend to remain hidden, in many cases, until it’s far too late to duck out unscathed. But background checks won’t be a free addition to the service.

Match Group will be “…testing and building out capabilities for Garbo on Tinder in the coming months,” during which time they’ll also determine costing and how it’ll all function on the app. But it’s perhaps the best idea the app has had in some time.

Garbo founder and CEO Kathryn Kosmides said, “Before Garbo, abusers were able to hide behind expensive, hard-to-find public records and reports of their violence; now that’s much harder. Being able to reach historically underserved populations is fundamental to Garbo’s mission and the partnership with Match will help us connect with these communities.”

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