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OKCupid Experiments on Users Too 161

With recent news that Facebook altered users' feeds as part of a psychology experiment, OKCupid has jumped in and noted that they too have altered their algorithms and experimented with their users (some unintentional) and "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." Findings include that removing pictures from profiles resulted in deeper conversations, but as soon as the pictures returned appearance took over; personality ratings are highly correlated with appearance ratings (profiles with attractive pictures and no other information still scored as having a great personality); and that suggesting a bad match is a good match causes people to converse nearly as much as ideal matches would.
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OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

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  • by nikhilhs ( 1292298 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @08:15PM (#47554177)
    FB's experiment was to see if they could alter the mood of their user. OKC tried to see if they could get more conversations going. Intent matters. OKC's is fairly harmless. FB's experiment could have a ripple effect and cause negative consequences.
  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) * on Monday July 28, 2014 @09:25PM (#47554527) Homepage Journal
    Try this the next time you want to try an online dating site: Create two profiles, a "real" one and a fake perfect match to your real profile and see how long it takes for the site to claim that your fake perfect match has attempted to contact you and for only $4.95 you can sign on to the paid service and reply.
  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @02:32AM (#47555479) Journal

    Facebook's experiments bother me more than OKCupid's. They're deliberately manipulating which news stories their readers see in order to affect their mood, and seeing how that affects the readers' behavior. That seems mean and dishonest. (Of course, I didn't know Facebook had news, so I'm not in their target market anyway, but it still seems mean.)

    OKCupid's a dating site, which means that all their "compatibility" scores are pretty much guesswork anyway, assisted by a lot of measurement, so an occasional suggestion of "maybe you two should see if you want to date" to people they normally wouldn't match up isn't that much perturbation of their approach anyway, and "whoops, pictures are broken, why don't you try talking first instead of just looking at pictures" is just fine, and both of them give them a bit of data outside the ranges they'd normally be collecting from - perhaps there are people that would get along well who they haven't been matching up. (I'm not in their market either, fortunately.)

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