Garbo, a nonprofit platform focused on promoting safety and preventing harm online, has ended its partnership with Match Group, Tinder’s parent company.
In 2021, the two signed a deal, with Garbo helping to enable low-cost background checks of potential dates for Tinder users, and later introducing similar features to Match’s eponymous app and Stir. The built-in feature also allowed partners to complete a series of free background checks before paying a small fee for the service. All information retrieved is from public records.
And it’s not just about the Match Group integration; Garbo is shutting down its online background check platform altogether. In a statement on Garbo’s website, founder Kathryn Kosmides said the nonprofit’s experience of working with apps and online platforms hasn’t been an easy road.
“In recent years we have faced a lack of support and genuine initiative from online platforms, as well as constant harassment and threats from bad actors on these platforms,” she wrote.
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Kosmides said it was “heartbreaking” to see vital information remaining inaccessible to victims and survivors. In Garbo’s post, the nonprofit explained the reasons behind the closure of its online background check platform.
“It has become clear that most online platforms are not legitimately committed to the trust and safety of their users,” Garbo’s post reads. “There are some great companies that 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 you.”
“Second, local governments are making it increasingly difficult for individuals to gain easy, affordable, and straightforward access to the critical information from public records they need to spot red flags that influence your decisions about who you engage with online and in person.” , the post continues . “The cost of conducting searches is increasing and is being used as a source of income in some places. There are also no uniform standards for reporting the information we really need for proper and consistent records.”
Kosmides went on talking Wall Street Journal that Match Group and Garbo disagreed on how the background checks in the app should look and ultimately work. Match Group reportedly intended to display badges on profiles to indicate a “clean” dating list; Kosmides argues, “You can’t whitelist someone or give them a ‘good, bad’ identity check.”
Mashable has contacted the Match Group for comment.
Garbo will continue to operate on a non-profit basis and will be run on a voluntary basis again in September. The organization says it’s “transforming our model to provide resources and solutions that more directly enable you to take control of your personal security in the digital age.”
Garbo users can request a refund for unused search credits they have purchased. However, if you bought these through one of Garbo’s partners – including Match Apps – you are unfortunately not entitled to a refund. The background check feature will officially end on August 31st and you must request a refund before October 31st.
In the nonprofit’s post, Garbo pointed people who want to do a background check to resources “including local government websites, the US federal agency.” PACER System and sites like Judy Records and others.