Dating apps have long been home to horror stories of catfishing and creeps, but they’ve also enabled rapists to reach new victims from the safety of their homes.
“A first-of-its-kind partnership for the dating industry,” Tinder has partnered with Garbo, a female-led non-profit which offers speedy background checks – typically in three minutes or less – to enhance user safety.
With just a name and a phone number, Garbo allows access to “violent or harmful behavior,” which specifically includes: arrests, convictions, and sex offenders.
In addition, Garbo will also direct users to appropriate mental health and safety services, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline and RAINN, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network.
“Garbo seeks to democratize access to public safety information, which has traditionally been cost-prohibitive,” according to founder Kathryn Kosmides.
However, she was adamant that her software not flag users for small crimes, typically used to oppress marginalized communities, such minor offenses as drug possession, loitering, and vagrancy.
Despite the potential protective powers of Garbo, she is quick to note that many violent criminals do not have a record, so users must continue to be vigilant and discerning even if their potential suitor passes the background check.
A Garbo search is inexpensive, costing $2.50 plus a processing fee. Tinder is offering its users two free background checks. They are the first of Match Group’s dating brands to provide this in-app experience.