Indeed, a 2007 case, involving the website Sex Search, dealt with a virtually identical situation.
An underage user signed up for an account and represented she was over 18; a male met her offline for "consensual" sex; and then he was prosecuted for felony statutory rape.
Educators, Parents and Cyber Safety educators, would love to see more consistency with ratings the app stores, more in line with the classification standards for movies, games and music.Consistency at least would help parents make decisions around the suitability of apps for their children and younger teens.The court in that case held that Sex Search was protected by Section 230 for the underage user's misrepresentations about her age.A 2008 ruling involving My Space is also instructive.Many online dating services undertake some efforts to screen out dangerous or problematic members, but what should the law do if those screening efforts aren't perfect?
As a recent case involving Grindr shows, the answer is nothing.
Of course age restrictions only help parents who keep a keen eye on which apps their children download.
All apps for younger children need supervision and awareness of how they work, effective privacy settings, and the ability to report any abusive behavior.
There has been quite a bit of negative publicity around Tinder lately in regards to teenagers using it to meet complete strangers online.
The Tinder app requires users to link with their Facebook accounts to register, the Tinder developers point out that Tinder users aged 13-17yrs can only connect with other users the same age.
And in a different online dating case, Section 230 held that wasn't liable when one user physically assaulted another user on a date, even though had failed to adequately screen the assaulter for a criminal background.