Mar 25, 2024 - Dating

Facebook group informing Charlotte women about their dates stirs controversy

AWDTSG

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

A network of Facebook groups called "Are We Dating The Same Guy?" (AWDTSG) aims to inform women about the people they're dating to avoid dangerous or toxic partners. In Charlotte, the fast-growing group has thousands of members.

Why it matters: In a modern dating scene dominated by apps, single people often go on dates without much information about who they're meeting.

How it works: These private groups, which exist in nearly every major city, serve as a background check for women.

  • To join, you have to agree to certain rules, like no screenshots, no doxxing and no defamation, to name a few.

Group members offer support and dating advice, sort of like having thousands of big sisters — think Google reviews, but for dating.

  • Common posts will read something like "any tea or red flags on John?" with a picture of John or a screen grab from his dating profile.
  • Some posts suspect their boyfriends or husbands are cheating and ask for advice or verification.

Zoom in: Charlotte's AWDTSG group has over 34,000 members — and that's just since re-creating the page in June 2023. An earlier page existed but was taken down.

The big picture: Charlotte's dating scene is messy. We've seen it on the latest locally filmed season of "Love Is Blind," and heard about it in our chats with locals about their worst dating experiences in the city.

  • In other words, women want to know what they're signing up for.
  • For instance, in the new local Facebook group "Vouched Dating," women recommend men they can vouch for as potential partners.

Flashback: In 2022, 29-year-old Paola Sanchez created the first AWDTSG group in New York City.

  • It grew fast, and now, there are over 200 groups with 3 million members that span worldwide, all moderated by a team of volunteers, according to its website.

The other side: While the group aims to make dating safer for women, critics say it's loaded with unfounded gossip and character assassinations.

Driving the news: In January, the groups gained national attention when a Chicago man filed a lawsuit against 27 women — including a defendant from South Carolina, one man and Meta — for $75,000, citing posts that defamed him and called him "clingy" and "psycho," as Queen City News reported.

  • In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges the Chicago AWDTSG group does no fact-checking, and that it "publishes dozens of statements and narratives daily from women who wish to provide personally identifiable information about a man in the community with which they allege to have had a dating relationship."
  • A man in Los Angeles is also suing 50 women for $2.6 million in damages for negative reviews posted in the group.

The bottom line: With over a million members worldwide and thousands locally, it's clear these groups are a go-to for women navigating the digital dating scene. But with lawsuits in the mix, it's hard to say how if — or how— they'll have to evolve to operate.

  • We reached out to the admins of Charlotte's group for a comment. At the time of publication, we hadn't received a response.
  • We also reached to multiple women in the Charlotte group to hear about their experiences. All declined to speak on the record due to privacy concerns.
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