Tinder, Hinge and Other Dating Apps Admit They Don’t Screen for Sex Offenders

dating apps

A new investigation into dating apps has uncovered some seriously unsettling news.

The lengthy new report, published on ProPublica in collaboration with BuzzFeed and Columbia Journalism Investigations, has found that common dating apps do not screen for sex offenders.

The investigation, which lasted 16 months, looked into the link between dating apps and sexual assaults. During the investigation, a spokesperson from Match Group in the US, which owns 45 dating platforms that include Tinder, Hinge, Match.com, PentyOfFish and OkCupid, admitted: “there are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products”.

Match Group first agreed to screen for registered sex offenders in 2011 after a woman using the platform matched with a six-time convicted rapist who allegedly raped her on their second date.

The woman sued the company and pushed for regular registry checks, and within months, Match Group’s lawyers told the judge on the case that “a screening process has been initiated”.

As of right now, Match Group checks the information of its paid subscribers on Match.com against state sex offender lists in the US. However, these checks are not conducted on Tinder, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, or any of the group’s other free apps.

According to a Match Group spokesperson, the reason why a screening system can not be implemented comes down to information the app collects from its users, or lack thereof. A fake name is all it may take for a sex offender to pass by the screening stage.

“Our checks of the sex offender registry can only be as good as the information we receive,” a Match Group spokesperson told Columbia Journalism Investigations.

This led to the company’s admission that there is undoubtedly sex offenders using the apps right now.

The investigation predominantly reports on US cases of Match Group-related sexual offence, and makes no mention of the way the apps operate in Australia.

If you would like to talk about sexual assault, support is available 24 hours via 1800 RESPECT. Call 1800 737 732.