A battle pitting feminists and media against online dating app behemoth Match Group flared up last week when one of Match’s properties, the app Tinder, admitted candidly there are registered sex offenders using their service.
Well, duh. Tinder, with 5.2 million active users, doesn’t perform background checks, nor should they. Of the 45 online dating brands owned by Match Group, including PlentyOfFish and OkCupid, only one, Match, a paid service, does. But activists screamed for the Dallas-based company to take action to better protect women. They demanded background checks on all users (they mean only men), instituting a verification system for people’s identities, flagging registered sex offenders, the right for victims to sue dating apps if they’re assaulted, and for federal regulation to implement all of this.
Most people would agree these apps must do everything in their power to purge convicted rapists from being able to meet and prey on women. But scratch just beneath the surface and the reality of the feminist demands reveal a more frightening objective — as they usually do — and the issue taps at the core of some of our greatest fears about the technological dystopian future we are careening towards and the age-old conflict of visions whether to empower the village or the individual.