No more checks on your potential dates through the app.
Garbo, a nonprofit platform focused on promoting safety and preventing harm online, has ended its partnership with Match Group, Tinder’s parent company.
The two inked a deal in 2021, with Garbo helping to facilitate low-cost background checks on potential dates for Tinder users, then later rolling out similar features on Match’s namesake app and and Stir. The integrated feature also allowed daters to run a number of free background checks before paying a small fee for the service. All information accessed was drawn from public records.
And it’s not just Match Group’s integration; Garbo is shutting down their online background check platform as a whole. In a statement on Garbo’s website, founder Kathryn Kosmides said the nonprofit’s experience working with apps and online platforms has not been an easy road.
“Over the last few years, we have faced a lack of support and real initiative from online platforms, continuous harassment and threats by bad actors on these platforms,” she wrote.
Kosmides said it has been “heartbreaking” to see vital information remain inaccessible for victims and survivors. Within Garbo’s post, the nonprofit detailed reasons for shutting down their online background check platform.
“It’s become clear that most online platforms aren’t legitimately committed to trust and safety for their users,” Garbo’s post reads. “There are some great companies that do take our mission to heart, but the sad reality is that most social networks, dating apps and online platforms care more about the bottom-line than they care about you.”
“Second, local governments are making it harder and harder for individuals to get easy, affordable, simple access to vital public record information needed to identify red flags that inform your decisions on who to engage with online and in-person,” the post continues. “The costs for performing searches are rising, and in some places, are used as a revenue source. There’s also no uniform standards for reporting the information we really need for proper and consistent records.”
Kosmides further told the Wall Street Journal that Match Group and Garbo disagreed on how the background checks should appear within the app and ultimately work. Match Group reportedly intended on displaying badges on profiles to indicate a ‘clean’ dating record; Kosmides argues, “You can’t white-list someone or give them a ‘good guy, bad guy’ identity verification.”
Mashable has reached out to Match Group for comment.
Garbo will continue to act as a nonprofit and will return to being volunteer-run this September. The organisation says it is “shifting our model to deliver resources and solutions that more directly empower you to control your personal safety in the digital age.”
Garbo users can request a refund for unused search credits that they have purchased, but unfortunately if you bought these through one of Garbo’s partner’s — including Match apps — you won’t be elligible for a refund. The background check feature will come to an official close on Aug. 31, and you’ll have to apply for a refund before Oct. 31.
In the nonprofit’s post, Garbo pointed people wanting to use a background check to resources “including local jurisdiction government websites, the U.S. federal PACER system, and sites like Judy Records and others.”
Meera is a Culture Reporter at Mashable, joining the UK team in 2021. She writes about digital culture, mental health, big tech, entertainment, and more. Her work has also been published in The New York Times, Vice, Vogue India, and others.