Tinder and Grindr are about to face close scrutiny over their age policies. The UK's Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, plans to ask the dating app giants about their age verification and safety systems after a Sunday Times report revealed dozens of incidents of sexual assault and exploitation against children who managed to sign up for the app, including over 30 instances of rape. He wanted to know what tools Tinder and Grindr had in place to "keep children safe from harm," and vowed "further action" if the dating services didn't provide adequate answers.
The two companies said they already use a mix of automated and human oversight to keep underage people off their apps. Grindr in particular was "constantly working to improve" its screening process, according to a spokesperson.
It's not certain how the UK would crack down if it found negligence, but there is a template already in place. The country is rolling out a mandatory age verification system for porn, and it wouldn't be surprising if it pressed for a similar requirement for dating apps. There could be stiff opposition to strict age checks, though. The porn age check has already encountered numerous delays and setbacks, and dating app operators might not be eager to adopt a similar system and risk dealing with similar issues.