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Some of the most popular dating apps in the world are harboring sexual predators, and their leaders are fully aware.

When users sign up for Match.com’s premium paid dating service, they’re subjected to a background check that compares their name to state sex offender registries, BuzzFeed News, ProPublica, and Columbia Journalism Investigations report. But Match’s parent company Match Group doesn’t take those same steps on the free services it owns — OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and Tinder — and admitted through a spokesperson that “there are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products.”

Match Group has been well aware of this problem since at least 2011, when Carole Markin sued it for connecting her with a “six-time convicted rapist who, she told police, had raped her on their second date,” BuzzFeed News writes. After a settlement, Match Group assured its site was “checking subscribers against state and national sex offender registries,” and told then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris the next year it would implement “a rapid abuse reporting system.”

Match, the group’s flagship dating service, did follow up on the screening promise, at least for its paying users. But a Columbia Journalism Investigations analysis of more than 150 incidents of sexual assault involving dating apps found most victims were women, and most connected with their attackers via Match Group’s entities. And while only a handful of those incidents involved registered sex offenders, none of the victims in those cases used Match’s paid screening service.

Match Group declined to make any executives available for interviews, and said in a statement that “a relatively small amount of the tens of millions of people using one of our dating services have fallen victim to criminal activity by predators.” Read more at BuzzFeed News. Kathryn Krawczyk

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