The owner of PositiveSingles, a dating site for people with sexually-transmitted diseases which advertises itself as a ‘100% confidential and comfortable community’ for people with diseases like herpes, HIV and Syphilis, was found to have broken local consumer laws by sharing its clients’ photos and profile details with other dating sites.
And a California jury ruled that the business – which it also found guilty of fraud, malice and oppression – should pay a $16.5m fine, after its umbrella company was sued by a claimant whose information was posted on other sites, suggesting he satisfied criteria that he didn’t.
‘Plaintiff is… not black, gay, Christian or HIV positive and was unaware that defendant was creating websites that focused on such traits that would include his profile, thus indicating that he was all of these things and more,’ his lawyers said.
The case dates back to 2011 when the unnamed claimant sued SuccessfulMatch for sharing his information with other sites like AIDSDate, Herpesinmouth, ChristianSafeHaven, MeetBlackPOZ and Positively Kinky.
The business was ordered to pay $1.5m in compensatory damages and another $15m in punitive damages.
Unlike the other sites, PositiveSingles stated that it did not ‘disclose, sell or rent any personally-identifiable information to any third-party organizations’.