Tinder parent company Match Group is partnering with one of the largest anti-sexual violence groups in the US to audit how it handles reports of sexual assault across its many dating platforms. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) will “conduct a comprehensive review of sexual misconduct reporting, moderation and response across Match Group's dating platforms and to work together to improve current safety systems and tools,” the company said on Monday.
The first phase of the review will focus on Tinder, Hinge and Plenty of Fish before moving on to Match’s other platforms — the company owns around 40 other dating brands altogether. The partnership, which Axios was the first to report on, will continue through 2021, with recommend changes rolling out “shortly thereafter.”
This is an important move for Match, even if there aren’t many details at the moment. While you frequently hear of horror stories, it’s difficult to put an exact number to the incidents of sexual assault that happen through Tinder and other online dating platforms. What is clear is that there are sex offenders on Match’s apps. The company admitted as much in 2019. “There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products,” a spokesperson for Match told ProPublica at the time.
It’s also important that this review will focus on the company’s moderation and reporting mechanisms since that’s consistently been a weak point of online dating platforms. If they even get a response, it can sometimes take weeks and months before the moderation teams at apps like Bumble and Tinder respond to people who say they’ve been assaulted on dates they arranged through their platforms. To its credit, Tinder has implemented additional safety measures recently. But those features have frequently put the onus on users instead of the company to make the platform safer. So the fact the company is finally taking more responsibility is notable.