Hot in the news and the trending ages of the social media apps is the news of Shraddha and how she met her would be alleged murderer, Aaftab, on the dating platform Bumble. However, looking at the matter from a reasoned perspective, there is a need to understand if and to what degree the dating apps can be blamed for such heinous acts. In this article, we present a chronology of incidents that have links to dating apps and see what are the common denominators in each of the cases.
In May of 2018, a 27-year-old woman, Priya Seth, met a Tinder match and then proceeded to rob and kill the man with help from some of her accomplices. They proceeded to stuff the dead body in a suitcase and leave the same along the Delhi-Jaipur Highway. The victim Dushyant pretended to be a millionaire on the dating app which caught the eye of the habitual offender Priya who had duped several partners before this as well.
In February of 2022, the police arrested a gang, which included two women and a man, in Uttar Pradesh. They were befriending people on dating sites and called them to hotel rooms for meetings. There, the gang would drug and then rob their victims.
In September 2022, the case of India’s “Tinder Swindler” gained notoriety. A man pretending to be an affluent person met a 57-year-old woman on a dating platform and then eventually ended up duping her of Rs. 3.5 lakh.
In another instance, a man was sentenced to jail by the Delhi HC, after he was accused of raping the woman on false promise of marriage after meeting her on Tinder. While there still remains some elements of contention in the case, and the accused has been granted bail, the use of Tinder here plays a vital role.
Now, looking at all of the cases above, there are some common denominators that can be inferred.
The aspect of duplicity and the need for Verification
In each of the cases, on one side or both sides, there remained some aspect of forgery, duplicity or lying. People were put in a position of danger because of fact that someone on the app was pretending to be someone that they were not. Although incidents like these are pretty rare, but these do highlight a vulnerability in the dating apps’ manner of operation. There is a greater need for verification of users on the dating apps and to authenticate them as much as possible.
Lack of Communication and the Need for openness at home
This aspect is more of a concern for the women in this case. in these cases and others that pop up in the media limelight every n ow and again, one of the key reasons that women find themselves in vulnerable situations is because their parents generally have no idea about the people they are meeting on the dating sites. This probably stems from a familial culture that does not celebrate or tolerate the independence of girls in their dating life. This leads to a situation where girls don’t feel comfortable in discussing their romantic interests with their parents which can lead to some of these issues.
The point that this article aims to bring forth is not that of blame but rather introspection. There is a need to identify the elements of the modern dating apps and dating culture and how they can leave women and men vulnerable in today’s world. This will allow regulators and app developers to ensure that systems are in place to prevent such crimes from happening.