Tuesday, July 29, 2014

OkCupid Experiments on People and Gets Away With It

OkCupid conducts experiments on its users all the time, it admitted in its latest blog post. The news media has reacted to one experiment in particular as if this was the same kind of “shocking!” revelation that we got recently from Facebook, but from what I can see, there has been hardly any outrage over OkCupid’s experiments. Just the title of OkCupid’s post gives you an idea of why OkCupid got away with it where Facebook didn’t:

These may be other reasons:

  • OkCupid is fully aware its users are real human beings and that its experiments had real consequence. That’s quite different from pressing some buttons, getting different financial results, and not seeming to notice that real people were affected.
  • People mostly know that online dating is experimental by nature.
  • OkCupid never particularly came across as a reliable, objective authority on who you should date. Just the opposite: it is continually trying to get people to take dating less seriously.