London, Jul 30: After the controversial ‘emotional contagion’ study by Facebook on its users, popular dating site OkCupid has now revealed that it also performed experiments on its users and manipulated their perceptions to test its matching algorithm. In a blog post, the company’s founder Christian Rudder, admitted that in recent experiments on romantic compatibility, they told people who were bad matches (30 percent) that they actually had a compatibility score of 90 percent.
“Not surprisingly, the users sent more first messages when we said they were compatible,” Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OkCupid, said in a blog post. Further experiments suggested that “when we tell people they are a good match, they act as if they are. Even when they should be wrong for each other”.
OkCupid uses an algorithm to show users other people the site thinks would make good matches after using a questionnaire. The company later revealed the correct scores to the participants. Lying to users sometimes sparked meaningful online chats, it added.
“If you use the internet, you are the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That is how websites work,” OkCupid defended its move in the blog post.