Things That Matter

Major Investigation Reveals That Most Popular Dating Apps Aren’t Keeping Users Safe From Sex Offenders

A 16-month investigation conducted by Columbia Journalism Investigations found that the Match Group which owns 45 popular dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and OK Cupid does not screen for sexual offenders. Match Group does audit users for sex crimes on their namesake property Match.com, but admits that on its free platforms it expects users to police themselves. 

The CJI report found that the policy leaves users vulnerable to sexual assault, and multiple victims have reported rapes because of it. Tinder, the company’s most successful app, has 5.2 million subscribers. Altogether Match Group is worth $1.7 billion in revenue. Many feel the publicly-traded company owes its subscribers more protection. 

Susan Deveau says her Plenty of Fish date raped her. 

When 54-year-old Deveau met Mark Papamechail on Plenty of Fish in 2016, she had no way of knowing he was a three-time convicted rapist. In Massachusetts, he was listed as a dangerous registered sex offender. After going on several dates, Deveau reported to the police that Papamechail raped her. She was the second woman to report Papamechail for rape after meeting him on a dating app. 

According to the app’s terms of use subscribers must “promise” they haven’t committed a felony, sex crime, or violent crime by agreeing to it. Thus the only method of screening is an honor system that assumes any user would actually read through the lengthy agreement. The company does not try to verify or screen for whether users are being honest or not. 

There’s a reason why Match.com screens for registered sex offenders.

Before Match Group bought up its competitors and became publicly traded, it agreed to screen for sex crimes on its flagship property Match.com. When the company expanded it didn’t extend this policy to its catalog of 45 apps. Match.com only agreed to check its users against the government’s sex offender registries after a public complaint from Carole Markin in 2011.

Markin says she was raped by a man she met on the platform on their second date. Afterward, she discovered he was convicted of rape six times. Markin was able to make her lawsuit public having been an entertainment executive herself. Under pressure, Match.com’s lawyers revealed they had begun implementing the screening process that utilized the government registries. Eventually, Markin settled.

A Match Group spokesperson told CJI that the free platforms don’t collect enough data to create a uniform screening policy. 

“There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products,” the spokesperson said

CJI found at least 157 incidents of sexual assault across dating apps. 

Most of the assaults happened within the last 5 years. Almost all of the victims were women who met their attackers on a Match Group dating app. 

“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,” according to the investigation. 

However, what was most notable was that Match.com, which does have a screening policy, had no assault cases. Match Group’s spokesperson said that tens of millions of people use their platform, therefore 157 cases aren’t enough to warrant an overhaul. 

 “[Match Group] takes the safety, security, and well-being of our users very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “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. We believe any incident of misconduct or criminal behavior is one too many.”

Some employees told CJI they don’t think the company goes far enough to protect users.

According to the investigation, many who worked at Match Group feel the company doesn’t equip or train them to deal with sexual assault complaints. Some said the process also fails to prevent more harm even after an incident has been reported because banned users can easily make new accounts.

“The problem has grown as the popularity of online dating has soared — in 2015, 12% of American adults were on a dating site, compared with 3% in 2008,” according to the report. “In 2016, the UK National Crime Agency reviewed police reports over a five-year period and found online-dating sexual assault had increased as much as 450% — from 33 to 184 cases.” 

CJI surveyed 1,200 women who used a dating app with the last 15 years. A third of the women surveyed said one of their dates sexually assaulted them, half of these women said it was rape. Match Group refused to comment on the questionnaire. 

Only five states have regulations to protect online daters, but those measures largely exist to prevent scams. With little pressure for the industry to change and as more victims come forward the future of online dating remains uncertain.

Everyone Has Thoughts And Concerns About Camila Cabello And Shawn Mendes’ Quarantine Walks

Entertainment

Everyone Has Thoughts And Concerns About Camila Cabello And Shawn Mendes’ Quarantine Walks

E News/ Twitter

There’s no denying that throughout their relationship, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello have drawn in attention. Particularly when it comes to their behavior.

Need proof? Just remember that out-of-the-blue moment last year when the two felt compelled to show the world that they french “normally” after fans roasted them for when they “kissed like fish.” The two seemed to have a pretty great sense of humor about of course because they responded with a very strange make-out video.

Now the two singers and bf/ gf duo are raising eyebrows again amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

The two were caught on a stroll in Miami, walking hand-in like zombies.

Walking as slowly as can be, the two were caught walking at a snail’s pace.

Fortunately, the couple is taking part in some much-needed self-quarantine for the sake of the public’s health and they are doing so in Miami. The two have been spotted taking long walks around Miami and have also been creatively productive. Recently they both performed alongside each other in Cabello’s home for iHeart Radio’s concert series.

Fans of Cabello and Mendes have been teasing the two for taking their sweet time on this walk.

In response to the walk, E! News tweeted, “Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s walk is as slow as the month of March feels.”

But who can really blame them?

We’re all pretty exhausted from all of the self-isolating.

Many are joking that Covid-19 has mutated into a zombie situation.

TBH it does feel kind of a lot like we’re in one.

Of course, people had some hilarious memes to roast these two with.

TBH their slow walk is pretty much all of us waiting to get out of quarantine.

Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno “Jokes” Women Report Rape Only When Assailants Are Ugly

Things That Matter

Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno “Jokes” Women Report Rape Only When Assailants Are Ugly

THE GUARDIAN / INSTAGRAM

It’s a tale as old as time and one with a well-overdue expiration date.

Once again, victims– namely women– of sexual assault are being shamed into silence because of jokes that have not been well thought out. This time, Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno is the mouth behind the quip that deserves no laughs.

In a recent speech delivered in the city of Guayaquil, Moreno claimed women-only complain about assaults when the perpetrator is unattractive.

Speaking to investors in the port city, Moreno appeared to defend men accused of harassment saying “at times, with harassment, they torment ugly people. That is to say, that the harassment is when it comes from an ugly person,” he went onto add that “if the person looks good according to the standards, they tend not to think necessarily that it is harassment.”

Fortunately, the responses to Moreno’s disdainful comments were quick, unforgiving, and loud.

Women’s rights activist groups and other organizations quickly lambasted the already controversial president for his snide and noxious comments.

In a tweet posted to her Instagram account, Ecuador’s governing party congresswoman Soledad Buendía condemned Moreno, writing on Twitter that the president’s comments “justifies and reproduces violence against women. You can’t joke about harassment, rape, femicide, trafficking, sexual exploitation … Nothing justifies expressions that revictimize us!”

According to the Guardian, the Women for Change organization were quick to join in the conversation.

“It is not that everything now looks to women like harassment, it is that to machos like you it has never seemed bad to harass!” the organization tweeted.

Soon after the backlash hit, Moreno attempted to apologize.

In a tweet posted to his account, Moreno wrote an apology saying “In my comment about harassment, I did not intend to minimize such a serious matter as violence or abuse. I apologize if it was understood that way. I reject violence against women in all its forms!”

According to a comparative analysis published in the 2008 book Violence Against Women, 32.4% of Ecuadorian women interviewed aged 15-49 stated they had been physically or sexually abused by a current or former partner. Clearly, this is no laughing matter.