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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  1. 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??

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