Tinder is working to make meeting total strangers off the internet a little safer by incorporating a background check feature into the app later this year.
Tinder’s parent company, Match Group, is investing in the background check company Garbo, with hopes of implementing the same feature into its other dating ventures, including Match.com, OkCupid, and Hinge.
Garbo is focused on violent crimes and won’t provide any information on drug possession or traffic violations, as the latter charges disproportionally affect marginalized groups. Tinder users only need entry-level information like their date’s first name and phone number, which Garbo will use to access public records.
CEO Kathryn Kosmides aims to differentiate Garbo from competing background check services, and says Garbo won’t provide people’s emails or addresses to prevent doxing and stalking. The name itself is a slight at her competitors; Garbo is short for garbage. “We say that’s what the current systems are: garbage,” she says to The Washington Post.
Garbo will be available to Tinder users at a yet-to-be-determined fee and will likely spurn privacy concerns from users who feel like the data will be misused. For now, Tinder has stated that the app will not “ask for or store” background check information, and it will not provide information to Garbo with the user’s consent.
“The reality is no background check is perfect,” explains Kosmides. “And it’s not a silver bullet. People want to be responsible with that information and understand that it is just one more tool to add, and one more tool to having access to information.”