Americans support dating apps providing background checks of users

Jamie BallardData Journalist
June 07, 2021, 1:00 PM UTC

As concerns about the pandemic lessen in the US, many people are resuming their regular social activities, like seeing friends, traveling, and dating. Safety experts recommend that people do some basic research before meeting up with someone they’ve connected with via a dating app or website, and new data from YouGov suggests that many Americans are listening. About one in 11 Americans (9%) are currently using dating apps, and another 28% have done so in the past. More than two in five users (44%) have searched for a date’s social media profile before meeting up, and 40% have searched their date’s name online. Fewer (23%) have looked up a date’s phone number online, done a reverse-image search using the person’s photos (13%), or run a background check (9%) before meeting up.  

Female users are more likely than male users to have searched for a date’s social media profile (51% vs 38%), searched their date’s name online (44% vs 37%), or run a background check (13% vs 6%).  

About three in 10 (31%) dating app users say they haven’t done any of these things before meeting up with a romantic prospect.  

Most think it’s a good idea for dating apps to help users run basic background checks on their dates 

Some dating apps have announced plans to help users run background checks on their potential dates. Tinder and other dating apps/websites owned by Match Group are partnering with Garbo, a nonprofit that will give users the ability to run background checks on a date (for a fee) using just the person’s first name and phone number, or their full name. Users will be able to obtain public record information on their date, including available details about arrests, convictions, and restraining orders.  

Three in five Americans (60%) think apps/websites should provide this information to users. Far fewer (14%) say they should not.  

 
By 63% to 29%, Americans who have ever used dating apps say they would be comfortable with their own public record information being shared with a potential date. Nearly two-thirds of men (65%) and 60% of women who have experience using dating apps would be comfortable with this.  
 
The point of this background check feature, according to Match Group and Garbo, is to help users make safe decisions about who they meet up with. YouGov’s data finds that majorities of male (58%) and female (68%) dating app users both say the option to see a prospect’s public information would make them feel safer going on a date. Three in 10 (31%) male dating app users, and 18% of female users say it wouldn’t make them feel any more or less safe. Very few – 4% of male users and 3% of female users – say that they would feel less safe going on a date if they had the option to see this information.

Americans tend to say they would want a date to provide evidence they’d been vaccinated for COVID-19  

 In addition to seeing a date’s social media profile and public record information, some singles might want to know whether their date has gotten the vaccine. Some dating apps are now offering “I’m vaccinated” badges for users to add to their profiles.  
 
Close to half (48%) of those who use dating apps say they would want a date to provide evidence that they had been vaccinated against COVID-19. Fewer (30%) say they wouldn’t want their date to provide evidence of this – 33% of male dating app users and 26% of female dating app users feel this way. 

See full results here.  

Related: Having a partner with similar religious beliefs is important to six in ten Americans

Methodology: Total sample size was 1,260 US adults ages 18+, including 462 who have ever used dating apps. Fieldwork was undertaken between May 27 – 28, 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of US respondents ages 18+.  

Image: Getty

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