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The online environment could also lull users into thinking they know someone, and therefore making themselves vulnerable.To date, much of the research on online dating has been conducted by dating companies themselves., up until the last few days featured the image of a convicted sex offender, Barrett Riddleberger, alongside his wife Jodi on its homepage, wearing his-and-hers hats reading “Trump” and “Make America Great Again.” Details of Riddleberger’s past were first reported by North Carolina paper in an article published in 2014, and resurfaced this week after local news outlets looked into Riddleberger’s history.Riddleberger was convicted of “indecent liberty with a child”, a felony, in 1995, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety records.Although the file doesn’t describe the crime in detail, the conviction reportedly stemmed from a 1993 incident in which Riddleberger videotaped himself having sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 25, according to the The site claims to “make dating great again” by “wrecking the dating game and giving like-minded Americans a chance to meet without the awkwardness that comes with the first conversation about politics,” according to their website, and has attracted criticism for only allowing users to sign up as “straight men” or “straight women.” (It’s unclear what role, if any, the Riddlebergers play at , and how their photo came to be featured.) Riddleberger appeared to confirm he had been convicted in an interview with WRAL, on Monday.
The study didn’t prove that apps led to abuse, the authors wrote, but they found the association “alarming.” They hypothesized that app users might expose themselves more to people who are sexually coercive. Often on multiple apps at once, users can swipe through dozens of profiles every minute and plan multiple dates, whether in hopes of a love match or a hook-up.Decisions to meet arise from limited information: A convenient location; a sultry glance captured in pixels; a mutual interest in “banter.” In 2014, Tinder users were spending as long as 90 minutes a day on the site.Nevertheless, while app-related assaults were still rare, they were rising fast enough for the NCA to flag the emergence of “a new type of sexual offender.” Usually a man, he’s less likely than other sexual offenders to have committed any kind of crime before, but instead exploits the “ease of access and arm-chair approach” to meeting people that dating sites enable.Of course, sexual assaults related to online dating may be on the rise just because online dating itself is on the rise.
But fake profiles abound, sexual predators use the sites, and some common online dating behavior—like meeting alone after scant acquaintance, sharing personal information, and using geolocation—puts users at risk.