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Australia’s government is telling the online dating industry to improve safety standards or be forced to make changes through legislation.

“What we want to do in this sector is not stifle innovation, but balance the harms,” she told reporters.

The government is responding to Australian Institute of Criminology research published last year that found three-in-four users of dating apps or websites had experienced some form of sexual violence through these platforms in the five years through 2021.

“Online dating is actually the most popular way for Australians to meet new people and to form new relationships,” Rowland said.

“The government is concerned about rates of sexual harassment, abusive and threatening language, unsolicited sexual images and violence facilitated by these platforms,” she added.