Dating apps are being weaponised by criminals, including alarming rates of revenge porn and sexual extortion.
More than three million Australians use dating apps in the hopes of finding love, but too often discover something much darker.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant says there are dangers in using the apps, particularly for women and gender-diverse people.
There was a more than 600 per cent increase in image-based abuse such as revenge porn during lockdowns.
“Through our own complaints schemes, we have certainly seen this borne out in how dating sites can be weaponised by offenders,” the commissioner told AAP.
“Today, we are dealing with crippling levels of reports about sexual extortion.”
Ms Inman Grant said dating apps needed to take more responsibility for stamping out bad behaviour.
A roundtable meeting on Wednesday will bring together state and federal ministers, dating app representatives and police.
“It’s clear online dating apps and websites must do more to make their platforms and services safer and this roundtable is an important next step in finding solutions to these problems,” Ms Inman Grant said.
“Some of the issues we’ll be highlighting include dating platforms doing more to deter misuse.”
This includes “nudge” technology to make people think twice before sending something harassing or abusive.
Empowering victims to come forward will also be raised.
“Ensuring the design of easy-to-use in-app reporting mechanisms and clear escalation pathways when things are going wrong is also critical,” Ms Inman Grant said.
“One of the big problems we see is recidivism, where perpetrators are permanently banned but are still able to create a new account using a different device or email address.”
The commissioner wants consistent and binding obligations to stop criminals from popping up on other platforms to continue to abuse women online.
“This perpetrator information should also be able to be shared with law enforcement agencies and online safety regulators, as appropriate, so investigations can be pursued,” Ms Inman Grant said.
Tinder has launched its dating safety guide in Australia to prevent violence against women and “educate and empower” users.
One in three singles surveyed said they weren’t fully aware of safety features on the dating app.
“The dating safety guide aims to educate daters in Australia on the do’s and don’ts of dating safety,” the company said.
Three-quarters of Australian Institute of Criminology survey respondents were victims of some form of online sexual violence in the past five years.
One in three experienced in-person abuse from someone they met on an app, including incidents of sexual assault or coercion.
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