Menu Close

Match Group’s background check provider Garbo ends its partnership

Tech nonprofit Garbo announced today it’s ending its formal partnership with Match Group, the dating app giant behind Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match and other apps. The two companies first teamed up in 2021, when Match made a seven-figure investment in the background check provider, following a series of reports about harm that came to dating app users through Match-owned apps.

In particular, a damning investigative report by ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations published in December 2019 prompted the company to begin to better focus on user safety, which also included a 2020 investment in Noonlight to help it power new safety features inside Tinder and other dating apps.

In March 2022, Tinder rolled out access to background checks powered by Garbo through the app’s in-app safety center. The experience directed users to the Garbo website where they were able to fill in basic information about their match. The company said users typically only needed their match’s first name and a phone number to get started.

Garbo’s unique quality, compared with other background check companies, is that it only focused on public records that contained reports of violence and abuse, including arrests, convictions, restraining orders, harassment and other violent crimes. It didn’t return any non-violent charges, like drug possession and general traffic tickets, excluding DUIs and vehicle manslaughter.

After Tinder, Garbo rolled out to other Match dating apps in July, including Match and the single-parent dating app Stir.

Despite its usefulness, there was some criticism that Match was passing the buck by offloading critical safety checks to a third-party partner which wasn’t deeply integrated into its apps, thus requiring daters to do more work. Others were skeptical about whether background checks were even helpful in terms of predicting the potential for abuse, as many abuse and domestic violence cases aren’t reported.

Today, Garbo says it’s winding down its consumer background check service and also ending its relationship with Match. However, it will continue to honor credits users purchased (for a limited period of time). This includes users who claimed Garbo credits through partnerships with online platforms, including Roomi, HUD and Match Group apps (Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Stir and These new and existing credits will be honored through August 31, 2023, Garbo says.

For users who purchased credits directly from Garbo, credits are redeemable through August 31, 2023, or can be refunded through October 31, 2023.

Garbo says the decision to wind down background checks will allow it to focus on “new technology and tools that directly empower individuals to protect themselves in the digital age.” Specifically, the company says it will instead work on a new guidebook to help people protect themselves online across every platform.

There are hints of sour grapes in Garbo’s announcement, as it suggests that the Garbo app was meant to be an easier and more effective and affordable way to uncover histories of harm and violence, but “a lack of commitment from online platforms and the growing problems with public records has compromised the ability of users to harness the full power and potential of Garbo’s technology.”

Garbo’s decision to pivot its business follows leadership changes at Match which saw Match Group CEO Shar Dubey stepping down in May 2022, with Bernard Kim taking over just as Garbo was meant to start rolling out to the company’s dating apps, which may have complicated matters.

A Wall Street Journal report also indicates there were internal disagreements within Match Group about how Garbo tools should work, in addition to difficulties in getting online platforms to pay for its services. It also pegs the Match partnership investment at $1.5 million to get the background check service off the ground.

At Tinder, the report says, execs wanted to add badges to profiles that were background-checked. Garbo disagreed, saying that underreporting of sexual violence means a simple badge doesn’t provide a full picture. Garbo also didn’t feel like Tinder fully promoted the tool to users.

“Garbo is doubling down on our commitment to directly serving individuals over companies, along with more comprehensive engagement with public officials,” said Kathryn Kosmides, founder and CEO of Garbo, in a statement. “Over the next few months, Garbo is exploring a variety of innovations and opportunities to continue empowering people to protect themselves from bad actors. We will not stop advocating for survivors and working to protect those most vulnerable from violent and harmful behavior.”

Tech nonprofit Garbo announced today it’s ending its formal partnership with Match Group, the dating app giant behind Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match and other apps. The two companies first teamed up in 2021, when Match made a seven-figure investment in the background check provider, following a series of reports about harm that came to  Read More TechCrunch 


Innov8 is owned and operated by Rolling Rock Ventures. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Any information obtained from this website should be reviewed with appropriate parties if there is any concern about the details reported herein. Innov8 is not responsible for its contents, accuracies, and any inaccuracies. Nothing on this site should be construed as professional advice for any individual or situation. This website includes information and content from external sites that is attributed accordingly and is not the intellectual property of Innov8. All feeds ("RSS Feed") and/or their contents contain material which is derived in whole or in part from material supplied by third parties and is protected by national and international copyright and trademark laws. The Site processes all information automatically using automated software without any human intervention or screening. Therefore, the Site is not responsible for any (part) of this content. The copyright of the feeds', including pictures and graphics, and its content belongs to its author or publisher.  Views and statements expressed in the content do not necessarily reflect those of Innov8 or its staff. Care and due diligence has been taken to maintain the accuracy of the information provided on this website. However, neither Innov8 nor the owners, attorneys, management, editorial team or any writers or employees are responsible for its content, errors or any consequences arising from use of the information provided on this website. The Site may modify, suspend, or discontinue any aspect of the RSS Feed at any time, including, without limitation, the availability of any Site content.  The User agrees that all RSS Feeds and news articles are for personal use only and that the User may not resell, lease, license, assign, redistribute or otherwise transfer any portion of the RSS Feed without attribution to the Site and to its originating author. The Site does not represent or warrant that every action taken with regard to your account and related activities in connection with the RSS Feed, including, without limitation, the Site Content, will be lawful in any particular jurisdiction. It is incumbent upon the user to know the laws that pertain to you in your jurisdiction and act lawfully at all times when using the RSS Feed, including, without limitation, the Site Content.