Dating app Tinder will give US users a way to check whether potential dates have been convicted of a violent crime, a check that experts have warned has limits.
The app’s parent firm Match Group announced Wednesday that it will begin offering access to Garbo, a new US online background check platform that can show if anyone has a history of violence.
After navigating to Garbo through the Tinder app, users enter names, phone numbers or other details about a possible date of arrest, conviction, and to check sex offender registry information.
Dating apps, including Tinder, have been under pressure to take action after women reported sexual harassment by men connected through the platform.
“This is the first step in fulfilling our mission to help prevent harm in the digital age,” Garbo founder Kathryn Kosmides said in a statement. Statement,
Match said that up to 500,000 free Garbo searches would be made available, and then a check would cost $2.50 (about 190 rupees) plus a processing fee.
Garbo said the search results did not include certain crimes such as drug possession, roaming or locomotion and did not provide personal details such as home addresses and phone numbers.
The firm said in a blog post that the service is intended to prevent violence by providing information, but noted its limitations.
“Most violent individuals never interact with the criminal justice system and Garbo does not have access to all records across the US due to jurisdictional challenges,” the post said.
Sexual violence researcher Nicole Bedera told AFP that sexual assault is often not reported to the authorities, and documented cases pose barriers to the justice system.
“It’s a very rarely prosecuted crime. And even as cases move through the criminal justice system — no matter what country you’re in — you’re going to see a lower conviction rate,” he said.
Sarah Lageson, an associate professor in the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, pointed to the incompleteness of criminal record information as well as their racial bias.
“Many white sexual predators do not have a criminal record and many black people have a deceptive or unfair record,” she said.
Garbo, for his part, pointed to the present-day reality and risks.
“In today’s digital age, we are connecting with strangers more than ever – yet we know less and less who we are meeting,” the company said.
“What if we could actively prevent some harm against ourselves and our communities?” it asked.