Match Group, Inc., which also owns such dating apps as Match.com, OkCupid, and Hinge, partnered with the women-founded non-profit Garbo last year in an effort to provide people with “more transparency and information about whomever they connect with.” The program will scour public records and alert someone if their match has any prior arrests or convictions, as well as notify them if they have registered as a sex offender.
Garbo only requires a full name and phone number to run the background check, which typically takes around three minutes. The first two searches are free, followed by a $2.50 fee for every subsequent search.
Garbo founder Kathryn Kosmides explained that the intention behind the feature is to educate users about the individual they matched with, while also working to prevent them from putting themselves in a harmful situation. “It’s the question of, what should be public and what should be private?,” Kosmides said, per Insider. “And when it comes to safety information, information that can help me make a more informed, personal safety decision, that should be public. I should be able to easily access that information.”
Kosmides also understands there is a certain exception to this entire process, “Most violent individuals never interact with the criminal justice system,” Garbo’s website acknowledges.
When asked why these dating apps aren’t taking the initiative to weed out those with questionable backgrounds, Tracey Breeden, head of safety and social advocacy at Match Group, explained that these platforms cannot run these checks without each user’s relevant information. Breeden said Match Group will take action, however, if someone were to report the individual.