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Love and the Law: Online Dating Lawsuits


Some estimates say 20 million Americans use internet dating services to find romance.  But when things don’t work out, should the dating service be held accountable and to what extent?  Attorneys and co-hosts Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams welcome Mark Brooks, an authority on the business of internet dating and Principal Consultant at Courtland Brooks and Brian Carver, Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, to discuss recent litigation against dating sites. Mark and Brian take a look at a recent lawsuits, background checks and online dating sites legal responsibility.

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  • Craig Robinson

    Great podcast. We’ve been focused on the problem of safety and honesty on internet dating sites for some time.

    In the “good old days” before online dating, people were commonly introduced through family or friends. If you know a little about someone’s friends or family (or perhaps even have some friends in common) it gives you the context to decide for yourself whether or not to trust that person. It also provides some “social pressure” to keep people honest. A convicted sex offender is very unlikely to be introduced to you by his friends.

    Using a social context to improve the matchmaking process meshes perfectly with the rise in popularity of social networks. As you point out, people are already connected to their friends on sites like Facebook and have already input a great deal of information about themselves that can be leveraged in the matchmaking process.

    Heartbroker uses feedback from your trusted friends to help build your dating profile and find potential matches. When you search for match, you get a compatibility score based on the information your friends have entered about you and the information your potential matches friends have entered about them. You also get to see testimonials from the friends of potential matches to help you learn a little more about them and decide for yourself if you want to pursue communication with a match.

    I’d be interested in the legal opinion on what we’re doing on Heartbroker. You can check it out for yourself at


    Craig Robinson
    CEO Heartbroker