States from New Jersey to Illinois have put in place specific laws to help protect online daters, as numerous disturbing incidents continue to be reported across the country.
Can laws that require online dating companies to screen their members for criminal backgrounds actually work?
Or should it be left up to the individual’s own responsibility?
If it can be proved they have failed to do so, the companies can face fines of up to ,000.
While Illinois’ move can be considered a step in the right direction in terms of raising awareness about the dangers of online dating, it is far from a foolproof system.
Millions of Daters (and dollars) Major companies such as Uber have made the news recently for shortcomings with their background check procedures, and that was with a much smaller pool of people than mainstream online dating sites would need to screen for.
e Harmony, for example, has a total of over 16 million users.
How thorough can each background check be with such a large pool of members?
Additionally, a ,000 fine may not particularly deter companies such as e Harmony and the Match Group, which recently launched a major IPO, when their revenues are in the multi-millions.
Additionally, these companies are often judged by user growth, so how motivated will they really be to make it difficult for users to sign up?
On the flip side, niche online dating sites that cater to a small audience by design may not have the capabilities to run a thorough background check process, or may simply slip under the notice of authorities as they focus on the major sites.
Protect Yourself Ultimately, online daters should not rely on any site to screen their dates for them.
Pew Research reports that less than 1 in 3 online daters research their dates online before meeting.
Unfortunately, taboos about cyber-stalking or creepiness hang over the idea of looking up your date before you go out with him or her. A 19-year-old woman from Missouri would likely agree after her last online dating encounter with a man she met on the site Plenty of Fish led to her being held against her will and raped.