Garbo, Tinder’s background check partner, has ended the relationship.

Garbo, Tinder's background check partner, has ended the relationship.

Garbo Ends Partnership with Match Group, Shuts Down Online Background Check Platform

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Garbo, the nonprofit platform dedicated to promoting safety and preventing harm online, recently announced the termination of its partnership with Match Group, the parent company of popular dating app Tinder. This move comes after a deal was struck in 2021 to provide low-cost background checks on potential dates for Tinder users, which was later extended to Match’s other apps. However, Garbo is now shutting down its entire online background check platform, citing various challenges faced while working with online platforms.

Founder Kathryn Kosmides expressed her disappointment with the lack of support and initiative from online platforms, as well as the continuous harassment and threats faced by Garbo. She stated that it has been “heartbreaking” to witness important information remain inaccessible for victims and survivors. In their announcement, Garbo outlined the reasons behind the decision to close their online background check platform.

One major concern raised by Garbo is that most online platforms prioritize their bottom-line over user safety. While there are a few companies that genuinely prioritize trust and safety, the sad reality is that a majority of social networks, dating apps, and online platforms do not. This lack of commitment to user safety was a significant factor in Garbo’s decision to shut down their platform.

Another challenge highlighted by Garbo is the difficulty individuals face in obtaining easy, affordable, and reliable access to vital public records. Local governments have made it increasingly challenging to access the necessary information to identify potential red flags when engaging with others online and offline. The rising costs of performing searches, coupled with the lack of uniform standards for reporting relevant information, further compound the problem.

In the case of the partnership with Match Group, Garbo and the company had differing opinions on how the background checks should be displayed within the app and how they should function. Match Group intended to use badges on profiles to indicate a “clean” dating record, but Kosmides argued against this approach, emphasizing that it is not possible to categorize individuals as simply “good” or “bad.”

Garbo will continue its mission as a nonprofit organization but will shift to a volunteer-run model starting in September. The organization plans to focus on delivering resources and solutions that empower individuals to take control of their personal safety in the digital age.

Users of Garbo’s background check service can request a refund for any unused search credits they have purchased. However, those who made purchases through Garbo’s partners, including Match apps, are not eligible for a refund. The background check feature will officially close on August 31st, and users must apply for a refund before October 31st.

For individuals seeking background checks, Garbo provided alternative resources in their announcement. These include local jurisdiction government websites, the U.S. federal PACER system, and other websites like Judy Records.

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In conclusion, Garbo’s decision to end its partnership with Match Group and shut down its online background check platform highlights the challenges faced by nonprofits in the realm of online safety. The lack of support and genuine commitment from online platforms, along with the difficulty of accessing reliable public records, have contributed to Garbo’s decision. Moving forward, Garbo aims to empower individuals with resources to take control of their personal safety in the digital age.