Violent offenders have no place in our physical or online communities. We are outraged that anyone, anywhere may experience fear, abuse, or violence when looking to meet someone special, and we will always work to improve our systems so everyone on our apps feels respected and safe. We want to be very clear: when anyone is reported to our apps for violent behavior, we aggressively remove and block the perpetrator’s account from all of our platforms. We take incidents of sexual assault with the utmost urgency and seriousness and will always - always - work with law enforcement to help ensure that justice is served.
We truly hope that these stories educate, inform and lead to more investigative queries from law enforcement. We are not aware of any subpoenas or requests for information from any law enforcement agencies related to the survivors named by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). And we want to help. So to law enforcement authorities everywhere, please know that we want offenders punished and off our platforms. If you are investigating anyone and believe we have any information that can be helpful, contact our legal department at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sexual assault is a societal problem and each of us, and every company, can play a role in making this a safer world. We’d like to take the opportunity to clarify our processes and policies that are in place today and commit that we will always continue to improve our systems.
As outlined in the Match Group Safety Center --
- When a user reports an assault to one of our brands, we act on that report immediately. We aim to identify the alleged perpetrator and block the associated account. We then direct the account information to Match Group’s centralized safety system and check it across our brands to see if the user has other accounts on other platforms. When any are found, they are banned from all of our apps. If you are sexually assaulted by anyone you’ve met on our platforms, and the assailant unmatches you, we are still able to access those messages and work with law enforcement if reported to us.
- We employ hundreds of care agents to review reports and we employ AI and technology to scan for impermissible language and block email addresses, IP addresses and phone numbers of known offenders from our systems. We have updated our reporting function so that if members submit a report, we respond in-app or via email, directing them to trained resources for crisis counseling and survivor support. This response was written in partnership with external safety experts in the fields of preventing sexual violence and sex trafficking, law enforcement and LGBTQ+ advocacy.
- We continually invest in our team, which include the recent appointment of a Head of Safety to review all of our processes and policies. Tracey Breeden comes with a tremendous amount of experience in this field, having previously served as Head of Women’s Safety and Gender-Based Violence Operations at Uber. She is also a former police investigator who focused on issues involving sexual assault, and as part of that role, worked with over 200 women's safety groups and advocacy organizations, executing partnerships with 35 sexual violence prevention organizations worldwide.
- We work on these issues with the Match Group Advisory Council (MGAC), a group of leading experts and advocates involved in the study and prevention of sexual assault, sex trafficking and similar issues. The council meets bi-annually to evaluate company policies and make recommendations on how to improve safety on our platforms.
- We consistently improve existing and introduce new safety features including the integration of SMS authentication, photo verification and video features so that people can date virtually and verify they are meeting with who they are expecting.
- We pride ourselves on our support of and cooperation with law enforcement. We always assist in any active investigations, including reports of sexual assault and violence, to help ensure that these matters are dealt with as expeditiously as possible.
- We advocate for safety initiatives seeking to protect the most vulnerable, including supporting legislative efforts to strengthen laws around online safety. When no other internet companies would act, Match stood alone to support the EARN IT Act in the U.S.
We have heard from survivors and we are acting. We strive to continually improve our safety systems and are always ready to take further action when shortcomings are identified. Reporting in-app and to our customer care teams is an important way we learn about potential issues and bad actors and allows us to take appropriate action.
We are grateful to all who have spoken up about violence or assault by someone who they met through our platforms. We value and respect their courage and determination to report these incidents so we can remove these offenders from our sites and better protect our users. We also honor and respect the courage it takes survivors of assault to report these crimes to law enforcement, which is a traumatic and difficult experience. We know this is a personal and often heart-wrenching decision, and we support all survivors - regardless of whether they choose to go to law enforcement - by partnering with the top experts in this field to provide resources at every point in the painful journey towards healing.
Violence and sexual assault are complex problems that sadly continue to persist in our world. But we are committed to being a part of the solution, working with our partners in government, law enforcement, and the tech industry, and doing every bit we can to lead action on this all-important issue.
For Australia Police:
Over the next coming weeks we will be reaching out to federal and state law enforcement and safety officials across Australia to set up meetings with our Safety and Legal teams so we can better explain the tools and resources we have dedicated to helping their efforts. We also want to hear directly from these officials on ways to work together more seamlessly in the future.
For Our Australian Users:
We want to be sure all survivors of sexual assault have access to support resources. Here are some you may find helpful:
1800 RESPECT: 24/7 Hotline: 1800 737 732
Lifeline: 24/7 Hotline: 13 11 14; Text (12pm-midnight AEST): 0477 13 11 14
QLife: 1800 184 527
Red Cross Support for Trafficked People Program: 03 9345 1800
Women's Services Network: 1800 WESNET (1800 937 638)