STATEMENT: “For nearly 25 years Match has been focused on helping people find love, and fighting the criminals that try to take advantage of users. We’ve developed industry leading tools and AI that block 96% of bots and fake accounts from our site within a day and are relentless in our pursuit to rid our site of these malicious accounts. The FTC has misrepresented internal emails and relied on cherry-picked data to make outrageous claims and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves against these claims in court.”
FRAUD ISN’T GOOD FOR BUSINESS. THAT’S WHY WE FIGHT IT
The issues the FTC is focusing on have either been taken grossly out of context or permanently eliminated by Match. In several instances, the FTC is wildly overstating the impact of fraudulent accounts. For example, the FTC says that in some months between 2013 and 2016, more than half of instant message initiations and favorites that consumers received originated from accounts that we had identified as “fraudulent.” We are not aware of any data that supports this contention and will challenge it in court. Furthermore, the FTC is mischaracterizing what is encompassed in “fraudulent.” The vast majority of the users that the FTC characterizes as “fraudulent” are not romance scams or similar types of fraudsters, but spam, bots, and other users attempting to use the service for their own commercial purposes. In any event, instant messages were eliminated from the platform more than two years ago, and favorites were eliminated over a year ago. Email communications - which are now the dominant means of communicating - have had a “fraud” rate of 1% or less since 2013.
PROTECTING OUR SUBSCRIBERS FROM IMPROPER USERS
Our efforts have protected our subscribers from improper users, including fraud. In fact, we make all users take a pledge to never give financial information to Match users, and to report anyone who requests it. We remind users to be wary of fraud, on every page of our platform. And, we catch and neutralize 85% of potentially improper accounts (including fraud) in the first four hours, typically before they are even active on the site, and 96% of such accounts within a day.
WE DETECT AND PREVENT BAD ACTORS
The systems that we have built at Match to detect and prevent spam, bots, and scams are among the best, and reports of fraud have fallen to .01 percent as of 2018. We catch and neutralize 85% of potentially improper accounts in the first four hours, typically before they are even active on the site. And 96% of such accounts in a day. We have also modified our systems to make it far more difficult for bots and bad actors to contact users. We are vigilant, and we are relentless in our pursuit to get the number of fraudulent accounts on our site down to zero.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SATISFACTION IS OUR GOAL
The full terms of our Guarantee – which has been discontinued – were clearly disclosed in easy-to-read bulleted paragraphs on a single web page entitled Match’s Program Rules. The terms were listed in multiple places and clearly called out next to the guarantee by a conspicuous “Learn More” hyperlink. The online cancellation process generally takes less than a minute. During the five-year period the FTC studied, 84 percent of subscribers who begin the online cancellation process successfully cancelled their account within 24 hours. A smaller data sample shows that another 4 percent returned at a later time, to complete their cancellation.
WE WANT TO ENSURE SAFETY
The safety of our subscribers is our top priority at Match. Safety information is provided to users throughout the Match platform. Some of our safety messages and tactics include:
- Match Safety Pledge: Match requires every user to accept a safety pledge before they begin communicating with users on the site. The pledge includes a promise to never send money or share financial information, as well as report anyone who asks for those things.
- Reminder Messages: Every page on users’ inboxes has reminders to be alert to potential scams including requests for bank accounts, SSN, money transfers and other financial information.
- Safety Tips: Every Match page includes a link to safety tips with guidelines to help you protect your personal safety and information.
- Invest and Patrol: Match invests a significant amount of our operating expenses per year on industry leading anti-spam technologies, including complex statistical models, fraud rules, and machine learning. We deploy a dedicated team of investigators to patrol for bad accounts through automated and/or manual reviews of each member profile to block IP addresses from high-alert countries, identify stolen credit card numbers, and detect suspicious language in profiles.
- Work with Regulators: Match advocates federal and state legislation designed to protect consumers from the risks inherent in using online platforms and to elevate the standards for all industry players. We work closely with law enforcement to identify perpetrators of bad behavior.