Burning The Ladder: Match.com Supports Burning Section 230 To The Ground, Despite Relying On It To Exist

from the what-the-fuck? dept

Here's one I didn't quite expect to see. Match.com -- the dating website owned by IAC, which owns basically every other major dating site, including OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Tinder, Hinge, and a bunch of others as well -- has announced that it will support the idiotic EARN IT Act, that would utterly destroy Section 230 and the ability of websites to host user generated content. Match's publicly stated reasons for this are... bizarre. It doesn't actually explain why it supports it. It just says it does, that protecting children is important, and then some mumbo jumbo about the kids online these days -- none of which touches on what the bill would actually do.

At Match Group, the safety of our users is at the heart of all we do and something we are constantly investing in. However, the EARN It Act rightfully acknowledges that online safety is a societal issue that demands action from leaders in the social media and tech space and on Capitol Hill. The EARN IT Act would help accomplish this by establishing a joint commission of lawmakers, experts and industry participants to set standards and best practices for internet companies to follow in addressing online exploitation of children.

The only way I can read this in a manner that makes sense, is Match has realized -- as the absolute most dominant player in the field -- that it can handle whatever recommendations come out of this panel in order to retain its 230 protections. But it also knows that all those smaller competitors, the ones that Match keeps buying up left and right, probably, cannot. So, from a competitive standpoint, this strengthens Match's position vis-a-vis upstart competitors, and probably depresses their value, making them easier to buy up. Win-win... if you're Match.com.

The rest of the blog post is just pure propaganda.

As the mom of a teenager, I am constantly thinking about my own daughter’s safety. And as the chief executive of a company that includes some of the world’s leading dating brands—Match, Tinder, OkCupid, and Hinge—I find myself often awake at night thinking about my daughter’s future, her digital footprint and the safety and privacy issues that come with this territory.

And that's why you're supporting a bill that literally removes your ability to decide how best to run your platform and hands it to a bunch of bureaucrats who don't know your business? Say what?

I remember a time when tech didn’t encompass every area of life. That’s no longer true for today’s kids. They have been immersed in a device-driven, always-on world since birth, and it’s incumbent on us to give them the tools to thrive in this increasingly digital world.

And that's why... you no longer want to be able to decide which tools to give them... but instead give that right to the government? Why?

Given our kids spend so much time with technology, we need to take bolder steps to protect them. We know that sex traffickers, pedophiles and other predators target children in places where they believe them to be most vulnerable. The internet will continue to fail our children without the entire internet ecosystem investing in and adopting new rules, technologies and practices to better govern online interactions and crack down on predatory behavior.

Beyond the whole "targeting children" issue being overblown, one place where they are targeted is on dating sites -- and you're now signing up to be held liable for that on your own website.

That is why Match Group has voluntarily chosen to make all of our platforms 18+. Beyond the age requirement, we vigilantly deploy a network of industry-leading automated and manual moderation and review tools, systems and processes designed to find and remove people from our app who should not be there. This includes both underage users and the bad actors that could prey on them. We work with partners like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Polaris, RAINN, Thorn and others to solicit recommendations from these experts. We welcome the opportunity to work with regulators to ensure that we are all coming together to protect our next generation of citizens. And, like most tech companies, we will continue to invest in new technologies and adopt new practices to try to stay ahead of predators.

That already happens. Most platforms already do that. So why are you good with adding liability on top of that, other than knowing you can handle it while your competitors cannot?

What's even more bizarre is why would IAC allow Match.com to support legislation like this that will harm other IAC properties, like Vimeo, HomeAdvisor, Angie's List, Dotdash (the former About.com), and more? The whole thing seems self defeating, unless the entire point is just to fuck over smaller competitors. Section 230 helped Match.com become the giant success it is today, and now it's burning the ladder it used to reach those heights, so no one else can get there. Despicable.

Filed Under: competition, dating sites, earn it, earn it act, intermediary liability, section 230
Companies: iac, match.com


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 9:39am

    None of that match.com statement is true afaik.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Waitman (profile), 13 Mar 2020 @ 1:46pm

      Re:

      I've been contacted several times by women using their sites. Scammers used my photos to set up fake profiles, then attempted to get the victims to send money and products. Some people had the smarts to do a google image search and find the real me before losing money. However, it was clear to me the company did not validate the profile and provides no way to stop it. Just to contact them they want you to set up a dating profile.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 13 Mar 2020 @ 2:10pm

        Re: Re:

        Funny, that seems like the sort of thing that might come back to bite them if they actually get their way here...

        'You run a platform that doesn't check and verify accounts, allowing them to be run by scammers, even after you became aware of the problem? Oh you are so losing 230 protections and getting sued.'

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 10:05am

    Management, especially if they are MBA trained, have no idea of haw a business works, other than how much it earns, and how much it costs to make those earnings. Making friends with politicians may look like a good idea, as this leads to them jumping onto political bandwagons. Note these are the people that will likely sell everybody else out in the encryption war, if they think they will gain influence in politics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 10:17am

    Of course it does! Then, when even just one of its multitude of businesses goes awry, it will condemn the Bill in it's entirety and openly deny it ever backed it in the first place!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 10:45am

    "As the mom of a teenager, I am constantly thinking about my own daughter’s safety."

    and that is why I let her use online dating sites ... for real??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bobob, 13 Mar 2020 @ 11:30am

    Match and is a fucked up company and it subsequently fucked up its acquisitions, which I would guess hasn't helped them much. If they are clueless about the impact they have on their own customers in how they operate, why would anyone expect them to be less clueless about anything else?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 12:14pm

    Match.com is pretty much 98% fake anyway. chatbots that pretend to be horny alone women that can only be 'contacted' via a paid subscription.

    Then they mysteriously call off the date once the subscription is activated. All run by match.com as a total utter scam.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 12:27pm

      Re:

      If that's really what they've become then that's kinda sad. I met my wife on match.com and we've been together for 17 years. Back then the site was what you'd expect: profiles posted by actual humans trying to meet a non-psycho they can get along with. In other words, about 10 times more likely to yield a good result than meeting randos in a bar but still more likely than not to result in disaster. At least everyone was human on the site.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 1:32pm

    In re: "Despicable"

    Match.com - we make sure everybody gets screwed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 13 Mar 2020 @ 2:15pm

    'Now that I'm up here no need for that ladder anymore...'

    Because nothing shows how repugnant, self-centered and greedy a person is like arguing for the removal of the tools they used to attain their position now that they think they no longer need them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2020 @ 3:19pm

    So I take it Match and their other sites will be changing their T&C's then?

    Because at the moment they say they cannot guarantee the ID of anyone using the site and that they aren't liable for anything anyone posts or does in relation to the site.

    Also didn't Tinder just use s230 to protect them from a silly lawsuit someone filed blaming Tinder for their ex posting a fake profile of them on the app?

    I wonder if in addition to Match hoping something like this will kill the competition if they haven't also branched out into data collection and a law like this gives them cover to collect a ton of extra data on people - under this they'd not only need to age verify all their users they'd also need to make sure the person logged in is the person paying the bill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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