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OKCupid Admits to Manipulating Users in Experiments



/ 2 years ago

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With the Facebook emotion manipulation study drama fresh in our minds, OKCupid has joined the ranks in admitting they’ve been messing with our minds.

OKCupid has admitted to running tests which include analyzing the depth of conversations while users’ pictures were removed for seven hours as confirmed by Christian Rudder, the companies co-founder.

Rudder released a post titled “We Experiment on Human Beings!” with quite a few interesting statements including:

“We noticed recently that people didn’t like it when Facebook “experimented” with their news feed. Even the FTC is getting involved. But 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.”

The unapologetic Rudder went on to explain some of the findings of these studies, claiming they were all for our own good.

They reported of their “Love is blind day” – where they turned off users profile images for 7 hours. Once the profile photos were switched back on, it seemed that looks did matter to their audience:

“When the photos were restored at 4PM, 2,200 people were in the middle of conversations that had started “blind”. Those conversations melted away. The goodness was gone, in fact worse than gone. It was like we’d turned on the bright lights at the bar at midnight.” OKCupid Blog

The previous Facebook studies brought on quite a lot of anger from users and eventually FTC involvement. Will we see similar repercussions for OKCupid? Can anything be enforced due to this controversial study, or is this another case of – company is too big to care?

You can see OKCupid’s full blog in detail here.

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