The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing the owner of Tinder and other dating sites for allegedly deceptive and unfair practices. The allegations stem from advertisement emails that contain supposed matches that were actually from fraudulent accounts.
Match Group Inc. Sued
Match Group Inc. is known for owning Tinder, Match.com, OKCupid, as well as other dating sites and apps. Now, the FTC is suing it with allegations of deceptive and unfair practices. First of the allegations are linked to false advertisement emails saying that someone had expressed interest in the recipient.
According to the FTC, since unsubscribed users are only allowed to make a profile but not to respond to messages, users who receive such emails are then encouraged to pay for the subscriptions so they can respond. However, many of them often find a scammer on the other end or, if Match has completed a review process and found the account to be fraudulent, an “unavailable” profile. Either way, the user then has to pay the subscription for six months.
Based on FTC’s complaint, millions of contacts who received the “you caught his eye” email were from accounts that were already flagged as likely to be fraudulent. While Match does prevent users from receiving emails from the said fraudulent accounts, hundreds of thousands of users still subscribed to Match.com after receiving emails from them.
In fact, the FTC notes that 25 to 30 percent of those who register on Match.com are there to perpetrate various types of scams. The complaint further states that between 2013 and 2016, over half of the favorites and instant messages that users received were from accounts identified as fraudulent.
The issue on fraudulent accounts, however, is just one of the issues raised by the FTC. They also noted hard-to-understand disclosures for the free six-month subscription if they did not “meet someone special.” This allegedly led to many users being billed for the six-month subscriptions simply for not meeting inadequately disclosed requirements.
On its part, Match Group, Inc. notes that the FTC focused on issues that were either taken “grossly out of context” or have already been permanently eliminated. Further, the company notes that apart from building systems that automatically prevents spam, bots, and fraud, it constantly reminds users to be wary of fraud. In fact, by 2018, fraud reports have decreased to 0.01 percent, and potentially improper accounts are caught within the first four hours, before they even become active on the site.
“For nearly 25 years Match has been focused on helping people find love, and fighting the criminals that try to take advantage of users. We’ve developed industry leading tools and AI that block 96% of bots and fake accounts from our site within a day and are relentless in our pursuit to rid our site of these malicious accounts,” Match Group, Inc. notes. “The FTC has misrepresented internal emails and relied on cherry-picked data to make outrageous claims and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves against these claims in court.”