Match Group changes Tinder’s safety policies following Four Corners and Hack investigation – Hack | #tinder | #pof

Match Group, the parent company of dating app Tinder, has quietly announced it will change a number of its safety policies following the release of a Four Corners and triple j Hack investigation last week.

In a blog post referencing the joint investigation, Match Group said, “We have heard from survivors and we are acting.”

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Match Group said it has updated reporting functions within their apps so that users receive a response and are directed to support services.

“If members submit a report, we respond in-app or via email, directing them to trained resources for crisis counseling and survivor support. This response was written in partnership with external safety experts in the fields of preventing sexual violence and sex trafficking, law enforcement and LGBTQ+ advocacy,” Match Group said.

The company did not say if they have overhauled Tinder’s problematic unmatch function, despite the investigation revealing that predators are using the tool to erase evidence and avoid accountability.

Match Group assured users that the company is able to retrieve messages if an abusive user unmatches their victim.

“If you are sexually assaulted by anyone you’ve met on our platforms, and the assailant unmatches you, we are still able to access those messages and work with law enforcement if reported to us.”

Beth was one of the women who told her story to the joint investigation and detailed being sexually assaulted on a Tinder date and held at knifepoint. Like 48 others in a triple j Hack callout on sexual assaults and dating apps, Beth said she reported the offender to Tinder. However, she did not receive a response from the company.

Commenting on Tinder’s response to the investigation, Beth said providing support services was a positive first step but the company needed to do more.

“They should be dedicating their time and money to investigate the people who have been reported and make sure they’re not repeat offenders,” she said.

“Tinder has an extreme responsibility to be the mediator in those situations and make sure both parties are comfortable and feeling like they’re heard.

“I don’t think they prioritise the victim of assaults.”

Match Group said it will also meet with Australian law enforcement and safety officials in coming weeks because of concerns raised in the investigation.

“We will be reaching out to federal and state law enforcement and safety officials across Australia to set up meetings with our Safety and Legal teams so we can better explain the tools and resources we have dedicated to helping their efforts,” the blog post said.

The company urged Australian authorities to contact Tinder using their legal department’s email address.

“So to law enforcement authorities everywhere, please know that we want offenders punished and off our platforms,” the blog post said.

“If you are investigating anyone and believe we have any information that can be helpful, contact our legal department at: legaldept@match.com.”

However, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith earlier told the triple j Hack and Four Corners investigation there have been difficulties with that process.

“There’s a contact email and they’re supposed to get back to us, there’s always difficulties with that process,” he said.

Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher told Hack he met with executive from Match Group, and demanded changes to the way the app keeps users safe.

Mr Fletcher said that Match Group has promised to look at ways to better protect users of the multi-billion dollar app.

“It’s all very well for them to give that high-level commitment but we need to see that actually be delivered on – when a victim, usually a young woman goes to police and complains or reports a sexual assault, we need to see the practical cooperation from them,” he said.

Just before the triple j Hack and Four Corners investigation was due to be aired, Match Group appointed a former police investigator who focused on sexual assault – Tracey Breeden – as the company’s Head of Safety to review the company’s policies.

“Tracey Breeden comes with a tremendous amount of experience in this field, having previously served as Head of Women’s Safety and Gender-Based Violence Operations at Uber,” a Match Group statement said.

“She is also a former police investigator who focused on issues involving sexual assault, and as part of that role, worked with over 200 women’s safety groups and advocacy organizations, executing partnerships with 35 sexual violence prevention organizations worldwide.”

Match Group thanks survivors

The blog post praised the survivors who spoke publicly in the Four Corners and triple j Hack investigation.

“We truly hope that these stories educate, inform and lead to more investigative queries from law enforcement,” Match Group said.

“We are grateful to all who have spoken up about violence or assault by someone who they met through our platforms. We value and respect their courage and determination to report these incidents so we can remove these offenders from our sites and better protect our users.”

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However, Beth said she still hasn’t heard directly from the app about her sexual assault complaint on a Tinder date.

“That’s great for them if they feel like they’re a part of this conversation but I’ve never personally felt like Tinder has involved themselves with my own situation,” she said.

“I’ve had no communication with the app before or after this [triple j Hack and Four Corners] investigation.

Watch Tinder: A predators’ playground on iview here.

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