Dating website ‘experimented’ with bad matches

A dating site has admitted "experimenting" on unsuspecting love-seekers by setting them up with "bad matches" to test technology.

New York-based OkCupid.com has 30m users worldwide, and made the admission in the first post for three years on its OkTrends blog.

It provoked a backlash online and comes after Facebook faced criticism over a psychological experiment along with two US universities to alter news feeds of almost 700,000 users.

In the blog, co-founder Christian Rudder defended the action by claiming that experiments were necessary to test the site’s ability to match potential partners. “We noticed recently that people didn’t like it when Facebook ‘experimented’ with their news feed. Even the Federal Trade Commission 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 site, which is free to join, asks users to answer a series of questions and uses algorithms to match them to others, providing the result as a percentage.

In one experiment users who were a bad match, with a percentage of 30%, were told they would be good for each other — a 90% match.


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