Dat­ing apps face in­quiry

Antelope Valley Press - - SECOND FRONT -

SAN FRAN­CISCO (AP) — A House sub­com­mit­tee is in­ves­ti­gat­ing pop­u­lar dat­ing ser­vices such as Tin­der and Bum­ble for al­legedly al­low­ing mi­nors and sex of­fend­ers to use their ser­vices.

Bum­ble, Grindr, The Meet Group and the Match Group, which owns such pop­u­lar ser­vices as Tin­der, Match.com and OkCupid, are the cur­rent tar­gets of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the U.S. House Over­sight and Re­form sub­com­mit­tee on eco­nomic and con­sumer pol­icy.

In sep­a­rate let­ters Thurs­day to the com­pa­nies, the sub­com­mit­tee is seek­ing in­for­ma­tion on users’ ages, pro­ce­dures for ver­i­fy­ing ages, and any com­plaints about as­saults, rape or the use of the ser­vices by mi­nors. It is also ask­ing for the ser­vices’ privacy poli­cies and de­tails on what users see when they re­view and agree to the poli­cies. It also seeks in­for­ma­tion on what data is col­lected on peo­ple, in­clud­ing sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, drug use and po­lit­i­cal views.

Al­though the min­i­mum age for us­ing in­ter­net ser­vices is typ­i­cally 13 in the U.S., dat­ing ser­vices gen­er­ally re­quire users to be at least 18 be­cause of con­cerns about sex­ual preda­tors.

“Our con­cern about the un­der­age use of dat­ing apps is height­ened by re­ports that many pop­u­lar free dat­ing apps per­mit reg­is­tered sex of­fend­ers to use them, while the paid ver­sions of these same apps screen out reg­is­tered sex of­fend­ers,” Rep. Raja Kr­ish­namoor­thi, the Illi­nois Demo­crat who heads the sub­com­mit­tee, said in a state­ment. Match Group said it uses “ev­ery tool pos­si­ble” to keep mi­nors and bad ac­tors off its ser­vices and con­tin­ues to in­vest in tech­nol­ogy to keep users safe. In an emailed state­ment, the com­pany said the prob­lem was broader and re­quires other par­ties, in­clud­ing app stores that know who their users are, “to do their part as well.”

Match added that the na­tional sex of­fender registry needs to be up­dated so that per­pe­tra­tors’ dig­i­tal foot­prints can be tracked and blocked by so­cial me­dia and dat­ing ser­vices.

Grindr and The Meet Group did not re­spond to mes­sages for com­ment on Thurs­day. Bum­ble had no im­me­di­ate com­ment.

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