In May 2022, Neil Davis, CBO of RealMe, spoke during the LTR summit held in New York about certain data protection legislation that's looming over online dating apps, and how he thinks it could impact the online dating landscape in the US.
A couple of weeks ago, the Utah legislators passed the House Bill 352 in a 35-0 vote (it will take effect in January 2023).
Anybody who offers member access to dating or other romantic relationships with another member or facilitates social introduction to members and does business in Utah are either required to conduct background criminal checks on all their users whether they are in Utah or not. Or, if you do not do background checks, everytime a Utah user comes on your service, you have to say "We don't do background checks on our users, your safety may be at risk."
You have to build a Dating Safety Hub with safety guidelines and show it to all your Utah members. For example: Don't give your first and last name, meet at public places, tell your friends where you are going, etc.
If you as a platform are acting in good faith, then you are not personally liable. If not, there will be a fine - the number of your users in Utah x $250.
Connecticut Act Concerning Online Dating Operators
In May 2022 the state of Connecticut passed and signed a dramatically more impactful law. It has to be in effect in October 2022. The state of Connecticut defines online dating platform as anybody who offers a software app to intimate relationships with other individuals for the purpose of romance, sex, or marriage. By Oct 1st you have to verify the identity of everyone on your app, not just Connecticut residents. Once you verify the identity, you either do background checks and kick off people with criminal convictions or you have to say that you don't do background checks and that their safety may be at risk. You have to also provide the Online Dating Safety Hub. If a Connecticut user leaves your services you have to keep their data for 2 years.
The fine is $25K per instance if you don't oblige.
"So this is something we (RealMe) can help with. We can verify the identity of your users using phone numbers and do background checks and reputation checks. We are matching UIDs. We know that User 123 on MeetMe is the same as User ABC on Bumble, because most people use multiple dating apps. We can tell you that your user ABC has displayed some inappropriate behavior on another app."
Neil Davis has also expressed his concern about Florida and California now drafting the same legislation, both to be effective in January.