“We Want To Help”: Tinder Promise To Rehaul Its Response To Assaults After ‘4 Corners’ Exposé
One of the women featured in the '4 Corners' report says she still hasn't heard from Tinder.
Tinder’s parent company Match Group — also responsible for Hinge, OK Cupid, Plenty of Fish and more dating services — has updated its safety guidelines and response system following a damning joint report by triple j’s Hack and 4 Corners on how Tinder is failing survivors of sexual assault.
— This article discusses sexual assault —
The 4 Corners episode, which aired last Monday night, centred on the experiences of five women who were assaulted by Tinder dates. Through interviews and investigation, it became clear the app was not doing enough to either protect its users.
The few users who did receive responses after filing a complaint or reporting an account tend to receive a generic reply; NSW Police accused Match of being opaque when it came to handing over details or message logs (though the police’s own negligence was on display, too); and the episode revealed that Tinder’s ‘Unmatch’ option essentially erased all evidence of interaction from a victim’s phone, allowing predators to evade accountability.
Now, Match Group has announced some changes in direct response to the 4 Corners episode, as outlined in a blog post. Previously, they declined to feature in the 4 Corners episode, instead sending a three-line response.
In it, they assured users they “heard from survivors and are listening”, and they “are grateful to all who have spoken up about violence or assault by someone who they met through our platforms”.
“Sexual assault is a societal problem and each of us, and every company, can play a role in making this a safer world,” it reads. “We’d like to take the opportunity to clarify our processes and policies that are in place today and commit that we will always continue to improve our systems.”
In particular, Match has overhauled their response system for user reports of sexual misconduct or abusive behaviour — in essence, people will receive a response.
“If members submit a report, we respond in-app or via email, directing them to trained resources for crisis counseling and survivor support,” it reads. “This response was written in partnership with external safety experts in the fields of preventing sexual violence and sex trafficking, law enforcement and LGBTQ+ advocacy.”
While Match didn’t update their Unmatching system, the post assures users that messages between two users can still be accessed by the company, should they need it.
“If you are sexually assaulted by anyone you’ve met on our platforms, and the assailant unmatches you, we are still able to access those messages and work with law enforcement if reported to us.”
The post also has a section directed to Australia’s police, saying they will reach out to officials in the next “coming weeks” to explain their tools and resources to ensure ‘more seamless’ cooperation in the future. Match also referenced the recent addition of a Head of Safety to their team, prior to the 4 Corners report.
4 Corners reached out to Beth, one of the women featured in their original story, for her views on the updates. After she reported her own assault to Tinder, the company didn’t respond: talking to 4 Corners, Beth said this is a good start, but the app needed to do more.
“They should be dedicating their time and money to investigate the people who have been reported and make sure they’re not repeat offenders,” she said.
“Tinder has an extreme responsibility to be the mediator in those situations and make sure both parties are comfortable and feeling like they’re heard.”
She also said she hadn’t heard from them before or since the 4 Corners episode aired.
“That’s great for them if they feel like they’re a part of this conversation but I’ve never personally felt like Tinder has involved themselves with my own situation,” she said.
“I don’t think they prioritise the victim of assaults.”
Read Match Group’s statement here, and watch the 4 Corners episode below.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
Men can access anonymous confidential telephone counselling to help to stop using violent and controlling behaviour through the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.