Jared Sine — Match Group
Imagine, after months of enduring COVID-19-induced cabin fever, the restrictions are lifted. It’s time to get back out and socialize. After scrolling through a few profiles, you and a match make plans to connect for a fresh-squeezed juice.
When you finally meet him, however, the vibe is all wrong. Something about him seems off, and you feel uncomfortable.
What do you do?
If you’re using Match Group’s Tinder app, you can actually push a panic button and call for back up—drawing emergency responders directly to your GPS location, if needed, says Jared Sine the company’s chief legal officer.
Match Group, which owns a portfolio of online dating companies, has partnered up with Noonlight to offer a first-of-its-kind emergency response tool for the dating category—a button that users can press if they feel they’re in danger. Unveiled in late January, it’s part of a broad safety baseline Sine and his team have helped to implement for Match Group
“Our goal is to ‘do the right thing’ by offering tools that help our users keep themselves safe,” Sine says. “If you stick to that mission, we believe people can be safer in how they connect.”
Of course, only a fraction of dates end in a situation where a user would need something like Noonlight.
A decade ago, the percentage of relationships and weddings resulting from online introductions was relatively low. Today, Match Group cites recent studies showing that 40 percent of all relationships start online and more than one-third of those walking down the aisle can thank a dating app.
That’s a good batting average for the business that’s been a pioneer in this space since 1995, when Match.com—the first online dating site—was launched. Today, Match’s brands run the generational gamut. There’s OkCupid, designed for the more coastal and progressive demographic; Tinder, which goes hand-in-hand with the college experience; Hinge, for young professionals out of college looking for that first serious relationship; OurTime for those over age 50; and Match.com—which started it all. There are even specific brands for those in different ethnic communities.
“Each of our brands is aimed to help you find that special someone during different phases of life,” he says. “Whoever you are, you can find the experience you’re looking for with one of our brands.”
Throughout the experience, Match Group goes to great lengths to provide its users with tools they can use to stay safe.
Sine has collaborated with law enforcement and industry experts to continually enhance the company’s safety baseline. Rather than wait for states to pass legislation about online safety, Match Group has defined what safety means for its brands, while working with policymakers to stay ahead of new regulations.
Back in March, Sine testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the importance of tech companies doing more to protect children from online exploitation (in a hearing broadcast live on CSPAN). Match Group, he says, is the only tech platform to support this important initiative, even though it might mean assuming more responsibilities.
“We are out there to help people meet one of their most important and basic needs,” the Brigham Young University law grad says. “After food and shelter, comes human connection—and our mission is to help every single person in the world find a meaningful connection.”
To that end, Match Group has bolstered its standards with extra safety tools. For example, users must pledge to act appropriately, report bad behavior and commit to community guidelines.
Match Group’s efforts go well beyond making sure people check the right box, however.
“Under the hood, our proprietary platforms are constantly searching for patterns of bad actors,” he says. “Our goal is to create an environment that is as safe, if not safer, than the dating environments ‘in real life’”.
Focus on Noonlight
But if things on a date do go south, there’s Noonlight, one of the newest parts of Match Group’s ever-growing safety arsenal. Those who sign up for the service on its Tinder brand receive a profile badge, notifying other users that they are part of the program.
“It designed to ward off bad actors from the get-go,” Sine says.
If a date goes awry, notices can be sent to 911. Because the tool is on the phone, first-responders will know a person’s GPS location.
“We’re trying to up the level of safety even beyond what you might get when you meet at a bar,” he says. “We want the online space to be safe. Our CEO is a mother and I am a father of five. We take safety seriously and put real effort and energy behind it.”
Caring during COVID
That’s a huge relief to those trapped at home with the COVID-19 pandemic, who will no doubt welcome the extra tools to keep themselves safe when they can finally venture out for in-person meetings.
Until then, Match Group is ramping up efforts to facilitate meaningful, and hopefully safe, connections around the world. During the COVID crisis, the busiest demographic has been college students and those under 30.
“Younger people are turning to our brands more than ever, as an outlet for normalcy during a time when there’s not a lot of normalcy out there,” he says.
To that end, Match Group has expanded its free services, like Tinder’s Passport feature, which allows users to check on those in the hardest hit parts of the world for free. It’s enabling connections from Tokyo to Paris and across the U.S.
“This may be a pause for much of the world,” Sine says. “But when the world opens back up there will be new options for engagement after we’ve weathered the storm.”
Perhaps nothing tames tough times quite like love, Sine says. Facilitating connections between people—helping them make one of their biggest life decisions—is what drives him.
“I draw from my faith and the principals set out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he says.
Compassion may be his North Star, but his experience in technology—working for companies like Expedia Group, where he served as vice president and associate general counsel of M&A until 2016—certainly hasn’t hurt.
Despite all of the safety precautions, Sine says bad things still can happen. But it’s his hope that by offering safety tools and education, Match Group users will educate themselves to make the right choices.
“There’s nothing more important to people than love, and helping make these meaningful connections is what we strive for,” Sine says. “The fact that I get a hand in this is what makes my job so meaningful and worthwhile.”
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