KATE THOMPSON FERREIRA: What to do about protecting SA women from predators lurking on dating apps
Would a public digital database provide safeguards against sexual assault, or spark mayhem?
Recently I read some research into sexual assault linked to the use of Tinder and other dating apps and online dating platforms. Essentially, the 16-month-long research — by media nonprofit ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations — looked at sexual violence (in the US) involving dating apps, with the writers asking why the companies behind the apps aren’t doing more to protect their users from “known” (my quotation marks, not theirs) and convicted sex offenders.
There were two elements to this study. First, they scoured “news reports, civil lawsuits and criminal records”, finding 157 cases of sexual assault involving dating apps. One would think that swiping right is sufficiently fraught without raising the stakes, but in 10% of the cases analysed the “dating platforms matched their users with someone who had been accused or convicted of sexual assault at least once”.