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Popular dating app adds auto alert, will contact friends with date’s name and meetup location if date goes wrong

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A new feature on Match Group’s online dating service, Match.com, will reportedly help daters protect themselves from potential predators and criminals.

“Match.com’s latest security feature — Date Check-In — allows you to designate three emergency contacts who will receive your date’s name, as well as the time and location of the date itself,” the tech blog Engadget reported.

“During the date, Match.com will send you an automated text message. If you respond ‘yes’ to the text, your contacts will get an alert.”

The automated message reads as follows: “A message from Match: Hope the date is going well! If it’s not and you want us to notify your trusted contact(s), reply YES.”

While Match Group reportedly stresses that daters should call 911 if they feel unsafe, this feature allows daters to have a second option available in case they’re dealing with someone who’s acting “strange but not outright dangerous,” according to Engadget.

None of this is to suggest that Match.com is a hotbed for predators and criminals. Match.com reportedly screens for sexual predators.

“Match first agreed to screen for registered sex offenders in 2011 after Carole Markin made it her mission to improve its safety practices,” the left-wing watchdog group ProPublica reported last December.

“The site had connected her with a six-time convicted rapist who, she told police, had raped her on their second date. Markin sued the company to push for regular registry checks.”

Learn more about the suit below:

“The Harvard-educated entertainment executive held a high-profile press conference to unveil her lawsuit,” ProPublica’s report continued.

“Within months, Match’s lawyers told the judge that ‘a screening process has been initiated,’ records show. After the settlement, the company’s attorneys declared the site was ‘checking subscribers against state and national sex offender registries.'”

There’s just one problem: This same screening service isn’t being applied on Match’s other dating platforms, including Tinder, OkCupid and PlentyOfFish.

“The lack of a uniform policy allows convicted and accused perpetrators to access Match Group apps and leaves users vulnerable to sexual assault, a 16-month investigation by Columbia Journalism Investigations found,” the watchdog group reported.

A spokesperson for Match Group confirmed that this is true and even admitted that it’s all because of money.

“Today, Match Group checks the information of its paid subscribers on Match against state sex offender lists. But it doesn’t take that step on Tinder, OkCupid or PlentyofFish — or any of its free platforms,” ProPublica reported.

“A Match Group spokesperson told CJI the company cannot implement a uniform screening protocol because it doesn’t collect enough information from its free users — and some paid subscribers — even when they pay for premium features.”

A spokesperson admitted, “There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products.”

Indeed.

About two years ago, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that sexual predators were “actively targeting potential victims through online dating sites and hook-up apps, as rape and sexual assault figures in Queensland hit a five-year high.”

It’s a worldwide epidemic that runs from the U.S. to Australia and beyond.

There’s Australian man Glenn Hartland, who was sentenced last year to 14 years in prison for sexually assaulting and raping a woman he met through the dating app Tinder:

There’s Mustafa Akbar, a Florida resident who forced a woman he’d met via Tinder to the ground and then sexually assaulted her three years ago:

There’s Jorge Arturo, a Texas resident who was charged with aggravated sexual assault last year for using online dating services to meet with and sexually assault up to eight women:

But it’s not a one-way street. There’s also a trend of women purposefully manipulating men to use them for their money and resources.

“If you’re a man who’s tried (or considered trying) online dating, chances are you’ve worried you might meet a woman looking to use you for a free expensive dinner,” Giorgio Selvaggio, a writer with the Los Angeles Times, wrote back in 2016.

“It seems trivial in comparison to what women have to worry about when they filter through men on dating sites, but it’s still a concern, and it still happens to the best of us.”

Including him.

Furthermore, some dating sites that make only their male members pay for access will go so far as to hire women to trick unsuspecting men into forking over their hard-earned cash for a chance at fake love.

“Once per day, this website would send messages to men on my behalf. Not just a few – thousands of messages. Why? Simple: it was free for women to join the site. Men, however, had to pay,” one paid actress admitted back in 2014.

“In other words, men would register for the free account, see they’d received a message from a cute 20-year-old girl, curiosity would get the best of them, and they’d pay for membership.”

It appears that online dating websites pose a lot of risks for everybody. Women face the risk of being sexually assaulted while men face the risk of being used.

Perhaps folks’ best bet therefore is to just meet organically …

Vivek Saxena

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