Match Group, the parent company of dating apps Tinder and Hinge, has announced it will work with law enforcement to implement a new reporting system for sexual assault in Australia.
In a world-first, the dating app company will start referring reports of sexual assault by its users to police, through the creation of a “portal” that could be accessed by NSW police.
Match Group may also start using artificial intelligence to “red flag” potential sexual predators on its dating apps, according to NSW Detective Superintendent Stacey Maloney.
The move from Match Group comes after a joint investigation by the triple j Hack program and Four Corners last year, which revealed Tinder’s failings in responding to survivors of sexual assault and enabling sexual predators to thrive on its app.
Tinder has announced it will immediately refer reports of assault to law enforcement in Australia. This is in direct result of our joint @triplejHack @4corners investigation which revealed the dating app’s failures to respond to reports of assault.https://t.co/xrLRbHsWbg— Avani Dias (@AvaniDias) April 26, 2021
The investigation found that Tinder’s design allowed offenders to use the “unmatch” function to block their victims after a rape had occurred, which would delete any traces of their prior communication. It essentially helps sexual predators using the app to cover their tracks.
Detective Superintendent Stacey Maloney, from the NSW Police Force, told the ABC dating apps like Tinder should not withhold information from police when sexual violence has occurred.
“If they hold information that is suggestive an offence has been committed, they have a responsibility in my view to pass that on,” she said.
Detective Superintendent Maloney said the possibility of dating apps using artificial intelligence to monitor its users for “red flags” could be helpful.
“It’s looking at what type of behaviour those users would exhibit and if we can, pick up on that throughout the course of them being on those apps,” she said.
“In the event something does occur, it’s in existence.”
Since the investigation by triple J Hack and Four Corners last year, Match Group and other dating app companies like Bumble have announced a host of other changes designed to improve the safety of its users.
If you or someone you know is in need of help due to sexual assault or family and domestic violence contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732
In an emergency call 000.