If you’re unfamiliar with the social/dating app MeetMe, you’re better off not knowing. Back in the before times of MySpace, MeetMe started out as MyYearbook. MyYearbook was developed by two teenagers who if memory serves me correctly marketed MyYearbook as a safer alternative to MySpace as it was geared toward high school age kids only. A few years later the kids, now adults, cashed out and sold MyYearbook to a company who merged it with one of their own networks and renamed it MeetMe. Since that acquisition, it’s become a less classy form of Tinder. A Tinder for the trailers if you will.
In 2017, 26-year-old attorney Marcos Vargas from Bakersfield, California, messaged a man on MeetMe and invited him over to his place. Once the other man arrived he is said to have brutally stabbed Vargas to death. It was until four months later when police arrested then 19-year-old Nicholas. Quintana is facing first-degree murder charges at his trial which is scheduled for early next month.
Vargas’ mother Blanca Vargas is suing MeetMe claiming that the platform lulled her son into a false sense of security.
The lawsuit says MeetMe advertises that it has 350 people devoted to safety and moderation and it screens new users against databases of known sex offenders. It also says the company advertises a combination of technology and human interaction to ensure compliance and spot anomalies.
While that sounds great, like most systems that screen against sex offender lists, it doesn’t do much to stop people who aren’t on any such list. Not to mention that almost all online screening processes always have a flaw that can allow for circumvention. However, no matter how much sympathy I have for the victim’s family, I don’t think the lawsuit has any traction.
Meeting strangers from the internet alone for whatever reason has been advised against for the past 20+ years.
While I’d like to see MeetMe clean up their act and see Quintana put away for as long as possible, I don’t think MeetMe can be held culpable in this instance.