Today on 1400 WOND, we will be talking about the OkCupid.
You may have seen in the news recently that OkCupid has been caught experimenting on its users recently. If you recall, Facebook ran into a similar issue just a few months ago where it was accused of running emotional experiments on its users.
Needless to say, social media sites are taking some serious heat from the public in recent months.
OkCupid recently admitted that it also runs experiments on its users. One of the site’s founders, Chris Rudder, wrote in his company blog to explain that these experiments were done to help determine how to build the site.
The goal of the engineers is to find the optimal way to link people together. I’m not sure why engineers would be running social experiments…that seems like something that a psychologist would be more qualified to do.
Chris went on to explain a bit more detail about what had been done. In one case, text would be hidden from profiles to obscure certain information about users.
In another, users who thought that they had found a good match were later told that they were not actually a strong match for each other.
As you can imagine, this begins to toy with people’s emotions and could potentially lead to permanent emotional issues.
Lots of people took to Twitter to voice their opinion about the issues. Not too many people agreed with OkCupid’s actions.
— Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) July 29, 2014
The Huffington Post article on the issue went in to further detail about one of the experiments run on the site. For example, one test in particular was used to find out whether looks really mattered. As you might expect, they do.
The test began by asking users to rate each other based on both personality and looks. The OkCupid team would then hide the test of the member profiles so that only photos would show. The result? Members of the site rated each other evenly between the profile and non-profile versions, showing that even a great profile can’t overcome bad looks.
If you’re concerned about his you might just think about going the old fashioned route and learning how to get a date without the internet. Go out a meet some people! It’s a good thing to do once in a while. You can learn more about this at http://www.ilwu10.org/ .
What do you think? Should sites like OkC be allowed to run these types of experiments? If you are a member, how did you react to this news?
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