Should Dating Websites Use Background Checks?

You sign up for a site like OkCupid, eHarmony, or, and decide to seek out people to date. Everyone always looks good on the computer screen, but, as with all internet interactions, you need to be wary of the information presented to you. Don’t always trust someone’s picture (it might be four years out of date, PhotoShopped, or taken at a flattering angle). Don’t always trust the information presented, either – particularly if salary is involved. But, what about a criminal background?

Many dating websites don’t disclose this information, and, at the same time, they don’t bother to ask someone joining about a past criminal background. Should they have to? Or should there be plenty of fish in the sea, and you simply need to wade through it and discovery for yourself who has a murder conviction under his belt?

A recent article discusses the pros and cons of adding background checks to dating sites. On one hand, most people joining don’t expect to find a criminal trolling the site and assume everyone is relatively safe. The worst offender might be running across a person with an old picture or a drug habit.

However, as a recent incident indicated, this sense of security isn’t accurate, and users should be more aware of whom they might come across. Aside from New Jersey, which requires dating sites to disclose that they don’t conduct background checks, most states don’t have such laws in place. Nevertheless, the article suggests that someone with a criminal history has the right to find someone, too. But, at what cost? Should someone with a criminal past be banned from certain sites, or should they be restricted? And, what about those looking at sites – don’t they have the right to know if a former criminal is looking at their profile?