Bumble Inc. Agrees to $315,000 Settlement with New Jersey Over Dating Safety Law Violations (New Jersey Attorney General)

Bumble Inc. Agrees to $315,000 Settlement with New Jersey Over Dating Safety Law Violations

  Friday, February 23rd, 2024 Source: New Jersey Attorney General

Bumble Inc., the Texas-based operator of popular dating platforms Bumble and Badoo, has reached a $315,000 settlement with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. This agreement comes after allegations that the company violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and Internet Dating Safety Act by misrepresenting or failing to disclose its criminal background screening practices to users in the state. The investigation, initiated in 2020, revealed inconsistencies and omissions in how Bumble and Badoo communicated their background check policies, particularly concerning their screenings against sex offender registries based on member reports or media coverage of sexual assault incidents.

As part of the settlement, Bumble Inc. has committed to significant changes in its business operations to comply with New Jersey laws. These include accurately disclosing its background screening policies, clarifying the access granted to individuals with criminal backgrounds, and detailing the limitations and scope of these screenings on its websites and apps. This move aims to provide New Jersey users with clearer information regarding the safety measures in place and the potential risks associated with online dating.

New Jersey’s Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin emphasized the importance of transparency in internet dating services, highlighting the state’s dedication to user safety and informed decision-making. The Internet Dating Safety Act, designed to protect online daters by requiring clear disclosures about background checks, plays a crucial role in this effort by ensuring users are aware of what dating platforms are doing to screen for violent offenders.

The settlement not only includes a monetary fine but also mandates Bumble to update its user disclosures and issue notifications to inform New Jersey users about the changes. These updates will detail the company’s screening methods, the frequency of data updates, the criteria for disqualifying members based on criminal convictions, and the inherent limitations of such background checks.

This case underscores the growing scrutiny on dating platforms to uphold user safety and transparency, particularly concerning the measures taken to prevent access by individuals with violent criminal histories. It also highlights the legal obligations of internet dating services to adhere to state-specific consumer protection and safety laws.

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