OkCupid has reveled to be manipulating results at their website, and it turns out true love might not be what you decide it is, but what the website chooses for you
Not long ago, Facebook made the headlines as they revealed to be partaking in an emotion-manipulation study. This led to all kinds of controversy and investigations, but now, the dating site OkCupid has made public that they’re conducting similar experiments with their userbase.
The site was very upfront: in a blog post called “We Experiment on Human Beings“, the founders explained what they were doing, and proceeded to defend the practice as tests like this”are extremely common and even beneficial to users.” As they put it, “guess what, everybody: if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site,That’s how websites work.” Well, speak for yourself?
Some of the experiments had to do with user pictures: the site temporarily removed all users’ photos to see how it would affect their interactions, which resulted on a decline in traffic. Those who still used the website, though, responded to more messages and exchanged contact information more quickly. The conclusion? “people are exactly as shallow as their technology allows them to be.”
Another experiment aimed to determine whether there was a correlation between how users scored each other for looks and personality. The premise was that users would rate higher the personality of someone whose looks they liked. And again, looks were the biggest factor as the text proved to matter little, or was blank, even. They explained it as “your picture is worth that fabled thousand words, but your actual words are worth … almost nothing”.
As opposed to Facebook, where it sparked an outrage, OkCupid’s experiment have so far not really caused a commotion, as the users who commented on the blog post didn’t seem to be upset for the most part, but instead found the data interesting, funny and depressing at the same time.
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