Tinder says 'there are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products'

The dating app Tinder is shown on an Apple iPhone in this photo illustration taken February 10, 2016. Just in time for Valentine's Day, a survey shows that more Americans are looking for love through online dating, with more than four times as many young adults using mobile apps than in 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake/IllustrationPhoto illustration of dating app Tinder shown on an Apple iPhoneReuters

Highly popular free dating apps owned by Match Group - including Tinder, OkCupid, and PlentyofFish - do not have clear policies or screening practices to prevent registered sex offenders from signing up.

As a result of that lack of policy, people are matching with regular sex offenders on those apps and, in some cases, have faced attempted sexual assault, according to a new investigation by ProPublica and the Columbia Journalism Review. Apple could sell three million AirPods, 3 million

For the investigation, ProPublica and CJR reporters analyzed over 150 instances of sexual assault involving dating apps, and found that 10% of them stemmed from dates where users were matched with people previously accused or convicted of sexual assault.

While Match Group carries out background checks for its paid services, like Match.com, it doesn't do so for its free apps. A Match Group spokesperson told ProPublica that "there are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products." A Match Group spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Based in Dallas, Match Group owns 45 online dating brands and reported $1.7 billion in revenue in 2018. Tinder, its largest app, surpassed Netflix earlier this year as the top-grossing non-game app, according to TechCrunch.

The ProPublica/CJI report identified several registered sex offenders who were able to continue using Match Group dating apps after being convicted.

One Colorado man, Michael Miller, was convicted in 2015 of raping a woman he met through OkCupid. He later created a new OkCupid account and was allowed to keep using the platform for months, according to ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Review's investigation. A Pennsylvania man, Seth Mull, had a 17-year history of sex offenses before he started using PlentyofFish in 2017 - that year, the dating site matched him with a woman who later accused him of rape, according to the investigation.

Read the full ProPublica/CJI report here.

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