California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently announced an agreement with three of the largest online dating sites: eHarmony, Match.com and Spark Networks (parent company of JDate and ChristianMingle, among others). In much the same way Facebook reached an agreement regarding child safety with AG’s nationwide in 2008, it appears the dating sites agreed to some voluntary measures under pressure from AG Harris’s office rather than in response to any specific allegations that the services broke any laws. This action can be traced back to a widely publicized incident in 2011 in which a Southern California woman was attacked by a man she met on Match.com who turned out to be a registered sex offender.
In the agreement, which is called a “Joint Statement of Key Principles of Online Dating Safety,” the three major service providers agreed to the following:
- Provide safety and fraud prevention tips, along with periodic reminders to users.
- Display links to the safety tips from the homepage, on member communication pages, and/or in the footer on some or all Web pages.