Industry Update - May 22
This is the second edition of the Online Dating Association’s Industry Update an overview of what the ODA has been up to in the last quarter, and a briefing on recent Public Relations and Government Affairs activities and concerns for the online dating sector.
The ODA was in New York City in March for the Global Dating Insights Conference. Our Comms and Policy Director, Hannah, really enjoyed meeting individuals from across the industry and giving a presentation on the ‘Digital Regulation Decade’ and how the sector and the ODA can engage and influence digital legislation. The ODA also hosted our first webinar of 2022 in April, about the moderation of voice and video content and the legal landscape for moderation, and we had a lively discussion about the challenges of new methods of engagement for daters and how this works within the regulatory landscapes of the UK, EU and US.
Our next webinar is hosted by a new Associate, Chargebacks911 (more below), on the 21st of June. Join us to hear more about why card processors consider online dating high risk and best practices to reduce chargebacks. Ahead of the webinar, why not have a read of Chargeback911’s blog - what you should know about chargebacks in the dating space. I will also be giving the next GDI Webinar, booking details here.
We also held our summer drinks reception on Wednesday the 8th of June where we rejoiced at having our Members, Associates, friends and wider colleagues back together in person.
We are extremely delighted to welcome a new Member to the ODA this quarter - So Syncd!
So Syncd is a dating app that matches compatible personality types. Created at the beginning of Covid by two sisters, Jess and Lou, the company's mission is to make dating more fun, meaningful and successful. The app pairs couples who have just the right amount of similarities to form a strong connection and just the right amount of differences to create that spark.
We are delighted to have So Syncd join the ODA, and demonstrate their commitment to our standards and objectives. We look forward to working closely with the team at SoSyncd.
We are equality as delighted to welcome three new Associates:
One new Associate is Garbo.
Garbo is on a mission to help prevent harm in the digital age through technology, tools, and education. They recently launched their new kind of online background check designed to help individuals make more informed personal safety decisions — which is now available via their website and through Tinder. From their offense reporting policy to redacting personal identifying information, their innovative approach to trying to find the balance of privacy and protection helps individuals and companies reduce harm to themselves and their communities.
The ODA is excited to have Garbo join us, and are looking forward to some engaging content we have planned with them around opportunities to make online dating safer for all users.
Another new Associate is ActiveFence:
ActiveFence is a leading tool stack for Trust & Safety teams, worldwide. By relying on ActiveFence’s end-to-end solution, Trust & Safety teams – of all sizes – can keep users safe from the widest spectrum of online harms, unwanted content, and malicious behavior, including child safety, fraud, hate speech, non-consensual pornography, and more.
Using cutting-edge AI and a team of world-class subject-matter experts to continuously collect, analyse, and contextualise data, ActiveFence ensures that in an ever-changing world, customers are always two steps ahead of bad actors. As a result, Trust & Safety teams across industries - including online dating platforms - can be proactive and provide maximum protection to users across a multitude of abuse areas, in 70+ languages.
Backed by leading Silicon Valley investors such as CRV and Norwest, ActiveFence has raised $100M to date; employs over 300 people worldwide, and has contributed to the online safety of billions of users across the globe
The ODA are excited for Activefence to join us, and share with us deep insight about fraud and dangerous actors online.
And finally, our third new Associate is Chargebacks911:
Chargebacks 911 safeguard over 2.4 billion online transactions every year and represent clients in 87 countries, Chargebacks911 is the first global company fully dedicated to mitigating chargeback risk. It’s credited with developing the most effective strategies for helping businesses maximize revenue and reduce loss across a variety of sectors within the payments space.
We are looking forward to our event with Chargebacks911, where we can learn more about how to maximise revenue and reduce loss from payments.
We hope you are all enjoying the new website and utilising the best practice resources for the sector and the safe dating resources for the public. Over the next year the ODA will be making regular updates to the website, the standards and guidance, and the safe dating education and resources for the public. If you’d like to be involved in this important work, please do consider becoming a member of the ODA. Please reach out to Ann if you are interested in joining us, we’d love to have you!
The ODA continues to field media enquiries on a range of subjects, and we know it is our role to provide the protective narrative on behalf of the sector. We’ve had enquiries on romance fraud, safety and data privacy of dating apps, police investigations of fraudsters and even the practice of ‘pooling’. These enquiries show the media interest in online dating shows no signs of abating.
In March Hannah participated in a widely attended webinar from SASIG on romance fraud, where professionals and victims came together to discuss challenges in fighting romance fraud; in May she appeared in the BBC programme For Love or Money, in episode 8, while other members of our sector appeared across the season; also in May she recorded a podcast with cybersecurity experts discussing the challenges for online dating services - recording to be out soon.
The PR and Press ODA undertakes it intended to improve the public’s opinion of dating apps, and shape and change the narrative about the online dating sector. Members of the ODA have a direct line of engagement with the media, so if you are interested in making your voice heard, we encourage you to consider membership.
In the UK, the Queen’s Speech on the 11th of May announced a number of Bills which will impact the online dating sector, and set the legislative agenda for the next Parliamentary session. Of particular interest to the dating sector are the Online Safety Bill (carried over from the previous session), the Data Reform Bill, the Brexit Benefits Bill and the announcement of a draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill. Our trade association for the tech sector, TechUK, has done a breakdown of the Queen’s Speech here, and the ODA will be looking in greater detail of the most relevant bills and releasing summaries as relevant. In the EU, the Digital Services Act provisional text has been agreed, and we have seen the final text of the Digital Markets Act, which will set a new regulatory regime for tech across Europe, as wel as the EU and moving towards a stricter regime on CSAM (child sexual abuse material) regulation and removal. In the US, data privacy remains of interest, both in the Federal government and in California. Two major bills on antitrust laws remain with bipartisan support, and discussions of online safety continue. There are also two Bills that have recently passed in Utah and Connecticut which specifically target the online dating industry and relate to background checks and online safety.
The section below will talk about each of these topics in detail, and how they may impact the online dating industry, so please read on if that is of interest to you.
On the ODA activity front, I’ve undertaken a number of meetings to make our voice heard in relation to new digital regulation, including:
- Meeting with Peers and technology sector organisations with the Digital Policy Alliance to discuss issues around verification and the Online Safety Bill
- Meeting with PICTFOR in Parliament to discuss diversity in the technology sector
- Meeting with Minister Chris Philp at TechUK to discuss the Government response to the DMU consultation on competition in digital markets and the Draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill
- Meeting with the Labour Shadow team for Tech and Digital at TechUK to discuss issues around online safety and digital regulation
I also have a number of upcoming meetings which will be of interest to the wider sector. If you would like to feed into these meetings, please consider joining the ODA as a Member of Associate.
- A roundtable with a team from Ofcom to discuss fraud in online dating with the intention to educate Ofcom on how our sector mitigates fraud ahead of Ofcom writing codes of practice as part of the Online Safety Bill
- Meeting John Edwards, Commissioner of the ICO with TechUK to discuss the GDPR regime in the UK and proposals for data reform post Brexit
- Meeting with DCMS at TechUK to discuss the Government’s app security and privacy interventions
- Meeting with fellow Coalition for App Fairness members in Brussels and MEPs who have been highly involved with the Digital Markets Act
I would urge any organisations concerned about new digital regulation and its impact on their businesses to consider joining the ODA for the latest updates on policy and regulation, and the chance to make their voice heard with Government, stakeholders and regulators.
The Online Safety Bill - UK
The Online Safety Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons on the 19th of April; the full debate can be read here. I will be following the passage of this Bill closely, and noting when and where the dating sector may need to make interventions.
Some good summaries to reason the Online Safety Bill include this one from Atticus Communications, this response from Coadec and this response from a broad range of organisations. The impact assessment shows the cost to businesses, and there are a number of concerns for the dating industry, which I continue to advocate for with elected officials and civil servants.
The key concerns of the Bill, for the online dating sector include:
- User to user services include all platforms except emails, SMS, MMS, one to one aural communications (ie telephone calls), comments and reviews on provider content and news publisher content, so all content created by users of online dating platforms
- All user-to-user services must comply with the duties for illegal content within the Bill, including risk assessments, content reporting, complaints procedures, recording-keeping and review and duties of freedom of expression.
- This includes taking an appropriate risk assessment when carrying out any changes to the service.
- The Bill includes a duty to take or use proportionate measures to mitigate and manage risks of harm from illegal content, including preventing individuals from encountering illegal content and minimising the length of time users are exposed to illegal content.
- Terms of Service must be clear how a service makes provisions to protect users from illegal content. This may require an update to your Terms of Service. The Terms of Service must also be specific about what ‘proactive technology’ a service is using to protect members and how this proactive technology works.
- There is a duty to have a clear and accessible complaints process including content reporting, freedom of expression complaints, complaints about content taken down, complaints about suspension or removal and complaints about the use of proactive technology.
- The section on Children indicates a service must be clear on the process used to keep children from accessing their service. I have some concerns this might morph into required processes or technologies for age-gating or age assurance with the language that is currently used.
- Category 1 services must offer ‘verification’ and allow users to have settings which allow them to only interact with other ‘verified’ users. At the moment, most dating companies won’t fall into Category 1, but we will be watching this closely. I have some concerns that these types of requirements are a way to bring in required ID verification and background checks through the back door. Here is a good article on this issue.
- Potential changes from the Category system as it is now set, which might make Categories more ‘risk related’ than ‘size related’, which could have an impact for some ODA members
- The Bill also brings in personal criminal liability for named Officers of a company who are tasked with dealing with the OSB and Ofcom - this article makes the concerns clear.
- Advertising is also now included in the scope of the Bill, with a new legal duty added requiring the largest and most popular platforms and search engines to prevent paid-for fraudulent adverts appearing on their service. A consultation on Online Advertising has also been launched.
- Cyberflashing has been made a criminal offence, and all companies in scope will be required to remove cyberflashing images when they become aware of them, as well as have a risk assessment and appropriate processes in place to moderate for cyberflashing.
- Three new communications offences which are
- Harmful Communications - message with a real and substantial risk of harm to the likely audience
- False Communications - message with information the sender knows to be false
- Threatening Communication offence - message with a threat of death or serious harm
- These communications offences mean lots of what was ‘harmful but legal’ content is now illegal.
- I have some concerns about the potential for Ofcom to use the Bill to mandate proactive technologies and force companies to use specified tools. This is something I will be following up on and we may need to advocate during the Bills passage.
Ofcom have confirmed with TechUK that only 30 – 40 services will be category 1, 2A or 2B and the remainder will be general regulated services, which should include all online dating services. All general regulated services will have to deal with illegal content and child safety requirements. In the Public Bill Committee meetings there have been excellent representations from witnesses, including from the online dating sector where Match Group and Bumble Group both gave testimony on a number of issues (you can read this session here.) Other major issues discussed in the Committee included redress and age-verification. In relation to age-verification, the ODA supports an amendment discussed in the tech sector which would clarify any confusion by the use of the wording ‘age-verification’, and suggests the outcome of ‘age-assurance’ would be better wording, as we do not want Ofcom to be requiring specific technologies for use in age assurance. If you’d like to read the testimony on the Online Safety Bill in full you can do this by searching Hansard.
The Digital Regulation and Cooperation Forum - UK
The next phase of the work plan for the DRCF (Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum) has been announced; The DRCF consists of the ICO, Ofcom, FCA and CMA, so their work is highly relevant to our sector. This year’s work plan focuses on 4 major areas.
- Protecting children online - improving outcomes for children and parents by ensuring the privacy and online safety protections overseen by the ICO and Ofcom work in unison together.
- Promoting competition and privacy in online advertising - foster competitive online advertising markets that deliver innovation and economic growth, while respecting consumer and data protection rights, via joint ICO and CMA work.
- Supporting improvements in algorithmic transparency - support the use of algorithmic processing to promote its benefits and mitigate the risks to people and to competition, by exploring ways of improving algorithmic transparency and auditing.
- Enabling innovation in the industries we regulate - encourage responsible innovation and explore different models for how we coordinate our work with industry to support innovation.
As exemplified above, the DRCF is particularly interested in looking at algorithms and the DRCF has announced, in relation to transparency and algorithms, it has 6 areas of focus: transparency, fairness, access to information, resilience of infrastructure, individual autonomy and healthy competition. I would expect to see policy papers and commentary in this space this year, firstly with these two discussion papers.
Finally, DCMS has asked for views on improving the security and privacy of apps and app stores through a consultation found here. Under new proposals, developers and app stores may be asked to commit to a Code of Practice with baseline requirements for security and privacy. The consultation is intended to start a dialogue between government, industry and global partners for making apps more secure.
Digital Services Act - EU
In the last month, the Digital Services Act provisional text has been agreed. The DSA will require ‘online intermediaries’ providing services in the EU to behave ‘more responsibly’ and take measures to protect their users from illegal content, goods and services. This includes:
- ‘algorithmic accountability’
- Swift removal of illegal content online (once made aware)
- Protection of fundamental rights ie privacy and democratic rights
- And the issuing of penalties for failing in any requirements
Like the Online Safety Bill in the UK, there are categorisations of services. The obligations are proportionate to categories, which represent the level of risk and size. The ‘very large online platforms (VLOPs)’ will carry the most obligations, while ‘hosting services’ and ‘intermediary services’ will be subject to fewer. It is my understanding most, if not all, dating services will be ‘hosting services’. The following requirements will be applied to dating services delivered in the EU.
The obligations for hosting services will encompass:
- Appointing a single point of contact for Member States’ authorities, and the Commission for communications purposes
- Appointing a single point of contact for the recipients of services
- A designated legal representative in any member state where the service is provided
- Clear Terms and Conditions, which state any restrictions to the use of the services. This should include algorithmic decision making.
- Transparency reporting obligations, which mean once a year the service will report on their content moderation activities
- These should include:
- Removal orders for illegal content and time needed to inform the Member State authority of the action
- Number of content moderators working in each official language for a Member state and the automated tools used in each language
- Notices of illegal content taken down by ‘trusted flagger’; and whether this action was on the base of law or the Ts and Cs of the provider and if by automated means or manual reporting (by either a user or human moderator)
- Information on content moderation undertaken, automated tools, training for persons dealing with moderation etc
- Number of complaints in the internal complaints handling system
- The Commission may adopt implementing acts which with detail the form and content of the report
- These should include:
- Providers must allow users to notify them of content on the service (as many dating services already do)
- A statement of reasons provided to users of a service of any restrictions placed on their account or their actions
Enforcement of this Act will be undertaken by Member States, and it seems likely this will be based on the ‘country of destination’ instead of ‘country of origin’ - however this is yet to be confirmed. Failure to comply with an obligation can be up to 6% of annual worldwide turnover in penalties.
The timeline for the DSA is as follows:
IMCO is expected to vote on the text in mid-June 2022
Publication of the final text will be likely end of July 2022
The DSA enters into force in October 2022
All services covered by the Bill must be in compliance by January 2024
Finally, the EU has formally presented its proposal that will require some tech platforms to move from voluntarily scanning for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) to a more systematic approach. The proposed rules will oblige providers to detect, report and remove child sexual abuse material on their services. Providers will need to assess and mitigate the risk of misuse of their services and the measures taken must be proportionate to that risk and subject to robust conditions and safeguards. A new independent EU Centre on Child Sexual Abuse will facilitate the efforts of service providers by acting as a hub of expertise, providing reliable information on identified material, receiving and analysing reports. Although this move has been welcomed by many in the EU, especially child safety campaigners, privacy advocates are concerned about the proposed requirements breaking end to end encryption and some of the provisions amount to general monitoring, although the Bill does state it does not include general monitoring. A breakdown is found here.
Online Dating Bills in Utah and Connecticut, USA
In online safety, US states are the most active at the moment. In both Utah and Connecticut, new bills have passed which directly impact the online dating sector and seem to be in response to experiences of online daters who are constituents in these states who have advocated to lawmakers.. These two bills have very similar expectations from online dating services.
- Requires online dating services that are offered to residents of Utah to either under take background checks on all users; OR to notify users it does not conduct background checks in a clear and conspicuous way
- If the service does conduct background checks, make this very clear to users and inform users of the service whether those with criminal convictions are excluded from the service, or the details of the parameters for what in a background check would exclude a user
- And a statement that criminal background screening may be inaccurate or incomplete, give a false sense of security or circumvented by those with a criminal history
- If a user it banned from a service for fraud, all Utah resident users who have been in contact with that banned user will need to be notified
- A Utah user is someone with a Utah billing address or zip code
- Enforcement will be by a state, county or municipal authority through civil action and penalties will be up to $250 for each Utah member at the time of violation
- Requires dating services to either under take background checks or if it does not undertake background checks, notify users that background checks are not carried out
- If the dating service does conduct background checks, notify users background checks are carried out and what criminal convictions would mean a user is excluded from the platform and that background checks can be inaccurate, give a false sense of security and circumvented by those with criminal convictions
- Services must provide for Connecticut users safety awareness and advice on the platform, very similar to the current ODA online dating safety advice
- The penalties for non-compliance come from the Department of Consumer Protection, and may not be more than $25,000 per violation. The Commissioner may conduct investigations.
- The Bill will be effective from 1 October 2022.
Both of these Bills will impact how dating services work in CT and UT, and lead to clarification of Terms and Conditions as well as decisions about the user interface and KYC experience.
Overall, you can see online safety is at the top of the agenda for a number of jurisdictions, and it is likely online dating services will be caught by legislation and regulation in some way. It is the ODA’s role to both advocate on behalf of the sector, and to work with Governments for sensible regulation beneficial to all.
Competition Lawsuits in the Netherlands
In other competition and Apple news in Europe, Apple has been accused of breaking EU law by the way it operates Apple Pay. It is accused of unfairly blocking companies, such as Paypal and other leading banks, from accessing the mobile wallet on Iphones. Apple has responded that opening up Iphones to ‘sideloading’ (downloading apps not through the Apple store) would weaken privacy and security. The ACM in the Netherlands has also determined that Apple is not complying with its ruling in relation to alternative payments systems for dating apps. Apple’s proposal, which came ten weeks after it was required to implement the ACM order and pay €50 million in fines, was rejected by the ACM because it imposed unnecessary requirements for dating app developers. Match Group’s initial complaint against Apple has also led to a preliminary investigation by the ACM in Google’s Play store, and whether it is also abusing its dominant position by not allowing alternative payment systems.
Digital Markets Act - EU
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) was also agreed at the end of March.. The DMA will give ‘App developers…completely new opportunities’ as per the European Parliament’s press release. Some key outcomes of the DMA include:
- Gatekeepers (the big companies who are covered) can no longer require the use of certain services in app (in-app payments or identity providers) to be listed in App stores
- There will be clear direction for what ‘fair market’ means, including dealing with issues such as in-app payments and sideloading
- Consumers can use ‘third party’ apps on Apple or Android phones
- Gatekeepers must provide data to competing search engines and developers
- Businesses and consumers can move data from one platform to another
- Gatekeepers cannot privilege their own services over business users’ services
- Messaging services such as Whatsapp and Imessage must be ‘interoperable’
The timeline for implementation will likely be as follows:
- April/May 2022 - Confirmation of provisional agreement
- September 2022 - plenary vote
- Sep/Oct 2022 - Official Publication
- October 2022 - 20 days after publication entry into force
- April 2023 - DMA because effectively applicable
The next steps on the DMA will be about enforcement; this is likely to be complicated and the work to get from the EU level to the country level enforcement will take some time. The European Commission will have a central role in enforcement, with a possible restructuring of the DG for Competition for this purpose. There will be new employees hired specifically for the enforcement of the DMA. The DMA Task Force will be integral in the final say over issues in the DMA as it moves forward, particularly the contentious issue of interoperability. With our support for the Coalition for App Fairness, we look forward to seeing the DMA come into action and create a fairer app ecosystem for both established dating players and our sector’s start ups.
Digital Markets Unit and the Draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill - UK
The UK Government announced the Draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill; and the Government response to the Digital Markets Unit consultation, the full response can be read here. Key areas of interest to the dating sector include the intention for the Competition and Markets Authority to give key tech sector companies as having ‘Strategic Market Status (SMS)’; these companies will have restrictions on their activities by the CMA’s Digital Markets Unit to open up competition. I asked Minister Philp at an event at TechUK if we could have details on what these restrictions or codes of practice might be for firms with SMS, and while he and his team were not able to give much away, they did mention requirements on issues like data sharing, self-preferencing and mandatory in-app payments. As always, TechUK has done a useful summary. ODA looks forward to seeing what th draft of the bill says, and how the DMU will regulate digital markets making the ecosystem fairer for all developers.
Digital Competition - US
Federal discussions in the US are centring on the Open App Markets Act, which has both Democrat and Republican support and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which also has bi-partisan support. The OAMA focuses on stopping dominant companies from preferring their own services unfairly over others, and looks at the data practices that tilt in favour of big tech while the American Innovation and Choice Online Act focuses on stopping dominant companies from preferring their own services unfairly over others, and looks at the data practices that tilt in favour of big tech.
Representative Ken Buck, a top Republican on the House antitrust panel, said he expected antitrust reforms in relation to merger fees, regulation barring tech giants from preferencing their own products, and regulation forcing Apple and Google to open up app stores to greater competition to plausibly become law this summer. However, we know Apple, Google and other big tech companies are working hard to lobby against these changes. Big Tech has of course claimed that it would ruin Google search, stop special Apple features or force Facebook to stop monitoring content. Big tech has even launched a ‘Don’t Break What Works’ television campaign. In reality, the bill would prohibit self-preferencing, much like the DMA in the EU and the codes of practice from the DMU in the UK
In California, Match Group sued Google for alleged anti competitive practices in its billing system, focused on the 30% fee for payments on apps collected in the Google Play store. Match Group followed this with a temporary restraining order, but have withdrawn it as Google has made concessions. Google has promised not to block or remove Match Groups apps from the Play store and make a good faith effort to build an ‘additional billing system’ while Match Group has agreed to offer Google’s billing system as an option. Match has opened an escrow account to hold all potential fees it would owe to Google until trial in April 2023. Google has said it plans to countersue Match for breaching the ‘Developer Distribution Agreement’. A clear article can be found here.
Data Reform Bill - UK
The Data Reform Bill was also announced in the Queen’s Speech in the UK. The purpose of this bill is to rework areas of data privacy and data protection to work better for businesses and innovation now that the UK has left the EU. This follows on from a number of consultations on the New Data Standards and the National Data Strategy. ODA will be involved with consultations and engagements as the new data strategy for the UK is shaped.
The EU is also working on new data bills: the Data Act which proposes to ensure fairness in data use, stimulate a competitive data market and open opportunities for data-driven innovation and the Data Governance Act which focuses on data sharing within the EU of public sector data.
For the dating sector, the proposal for a rebalance of power for SMEs in data sharing contracts in the Data Act will be of interest - this Act will shield them from unfair contractual terms. ODA will be keeping an eye on the EU proposal that public sector bodies should have access to private sector data in exceptional circumstances. At the moment this is suggested for instances like floods and wildfires, but could be utilised in problematic regimes for unscrupulous purposes.
The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill - UK
The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech, will tackle economic crime, although the focus of this bill is particularly on digital fraud. However, the Treasury Select Committee published a report on fraud, scams and economic crime. In late April the Treasury Committee published the Government’s response to the report.
The initial report had a number of recommendations:
- The Government should consider whether there should be a single law enforcement agency with clear responsibilities and objectives to fight economic crime.
- The Government must consider why economic crime seems not to be a priority for law enforcement, and how it can ensure it becomes one. It must ensure that law enforcement agencies are appropriately resourced to tackle the scale of the problem.
- The Draft Online Safety Bill should be amended to include fraud offences, requiring online firms to be proactive rather than reactive in removing it from their platforms. As you can imagine this is a big concern for the dating sector, as it would require a level of ‘general monitoring’ for fraud offenses. At the moment, the Online Safety Bill has a focus on advertising fraud.
- The Government should seriously consider whether online companies should be required to contribute compensation when fraud is conducted using their platforms. Again, an area for ODA to watch closely, as any requirement for platforms to contribute to compensation for victims could cause harm to the dating industry without very careful thought.
Online Sales Tax - UK
I attended a roundtable on the Online Sales Tax (OST) which is being proposed by the UK Government. Treasury officials outlined that nothing was decided on this proposal yet, and the purpose of an OST would be to equalise between ‘bricks and mortar’ and ‘online’ sales, ie that ‘bricks and mortar’ must pay business rates while online sales do not. In the roundtable, the officials were clearly on a fact finding mission and have yet to make any definitive decisions. Since this meeting, a number of UK companies and wider cross-sector organisations have come out clearly against the Online Sales Tax, and the ODA included our concerns in TechUK’s response. The ODA’s key points are the online dating industry does not have a high street equivalent, and as such would be unfairly targeted by an extra tax and that we are facing increasing costs from the Online Safety Bill regulations and the ongoing costs of Apple and Google stores.
If you are concerned about any of these legislative and regulatory changes, and would like to be part of the development of policy positions, briefings and campaigns, please do consider joining the ODA as either a Member (dating services) or an Associate (ancillary services to the dating sector). If you do not fit into the Member or Associate category, we would still love to discuss working together. We would welcome all discussions, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
To reiterate, a big thank you to everyone who supports the Online Dating Association. Please follow @odassociation on Twitter and Online Dating Association on Linkedin to get all our news as it happens.