Rowland sets deadline for online dating reform

The Federal Government has issued online dating apps with a new deadline to improve the safety features on their platforms.
How safe is online dating

The Federal Government is calling on dating apps to work together to improve user safety by developing an industry-wide safety code.

It warned it would introduce legislation if safety on dating apps doesn’t improve.

The Government wants the measures introduced by mid-2024.

Safety code for dating apps

The Government has asked popular dating apps, like Bumble and Hinge, to develop and implement an industry-wide safety code.

The code could include more support for users, better contact between platforms and police, and greater responsibility for apps to identify poor behaviour. It would be voluntary.

How safe is online dating?

A recent Australian Institute of Criminology study showed three-quarters of online dating users in Australia have experienced sexual violence. This includes harassment, stalking, and also exposure to sexually abusive images.

The report found perpetrators of sexual violence tried to avoid repercussions by deleting their online dating accounts, or by ‘unmatching’ or blocking other users.

Industry response

Match Group, which owns Tinder and Hinge, shared the Government’s “commitment to strengthen Australians’ safety”.

Bumble declined to comment to TDA. Grindr, the other dating platform involved in Government talks, hadn’t responded to TDA at the time of publication.

When will the online dating code start?

Once the code is developed, it needs to be signed off by the eSafety Commissioner. It is expected to be in place by 30 June next year.

The Government has said it could draft new laws or regulations to address safety concerns if it isn’t satisfied with the measures put forward by the industry.

Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, said: “Dating apps are now the most common way to meet a partner in Australia, yet the level of violence experienced by users of these platforms is deeply concerning.”

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