Sex dating service
Asked about the CJI data, Match Group’s spokesperson said the 157 cases “need to be put in perspective with the tens of millions of people that have used our dating products.”The company declined multiple requests to interview executives and other key employees familiar with its protocols for addressing online dating sexual assault.
The spokesperson described the steps the company takes to ensure customer safety on its platforms — from blocking users accused of sexual assault to checking across its apps for accused users’ accounts and flagging them on a companywide distribution list.
Other response protocols aren’t standardized across Match Group apps.
In a brief statement, the company said it “takes the safety, security and well-being of our users very seriously.” Match Group said “a relatively small amount of the tens of millions of people using one of our dating services have fallen victim to criminal activity by predators.” It added, “We believe any incident of misconduct or criminal behavior is one too many.”Interviews with more than a dozen former Match Group employees — from customer service representatives and security managers at Ok Cupid to senior executives at Tinder — paint a different picture.
Most victims, almost all women, met their male attackers through Tinder, Ok Cupid, Plenty of Fish, or Match. In 10% of the incidents, dating platforms matched their users with someone who had been accused or convicted of sexual assault at least once, the analysis found.
Only a fraction of these cases involved a registered sex offender.
In a 2012 agreement on best industry practices between the attorney general’s office and the dating site, among others, the company again agreed to “identify sexual predators” and examine sex offender registries.
Even Pennsylvania registered sex offender Seth Mull, whose 17-year history of sex crimes convictions began as a teen, used Match Group’s dating sites; in 2017, Plenty of Fish didn’t flag his eight-year registry status before matching him with a woman who later accused him of rape.
Mull is now serving life in prison for her rape and two more rapes, among other sex crimes.
Match Group, which owns most major online dating services, screens for sexual predators on Match — but not on Tinder, Ok Cupid, or Plenty of Fish.
A spokesperson said, “There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products.” Susan Deveau saw Mark Papamechail’s online dating profile on Plenty of Fish in late 2016.