Trying to find that perfect somebody is undoubtedly challenging, especially with so many people leading lives that are busier than in decades past. While work obligations have undoubtedly taken away valuable time for meeting eligible singles, computers can offset the problem, to a degree. More than ever before, online dating websites/networks are being used as legitimate tools for meeting one’s soul mate.
One of the biggest online dating networks is OkCupid, where users can meet other people over the Internet, all at no cost. Unfortunately though, there seems to be a darker, actually quite spooky side to OkCupid: website administrators are allegedly controlling who can see who’s profile, with a goal of seemingly keeping people they (administrators) deem less attractive from meeting people who they consider more physically appealing by looking at “click data and algorithms.”
This may be the first case of online dating discrimination based on pictures.
In an email released to its users who are deemed most attractive, OkCupid made this announcement:
“We are very pleased to report that you are in the top half of OkCupid’s most attractive users. The scales recently tipped in your favor, and we thought you’d like to know. Your new elite status comes with one important privilege:You will now see more attractive people in your match results. This new status won’t affect your actual match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match’s answers. But the people we recommend will be more attractive. Also! You’ll be shown to more attractive people in their match results.”
Obviously, personal appearance does count for something in the real world. Whether you personally think it right or wrong, people do judge others on appearance, whether it be on dress, physical body, or a combination of both. Undoubtedly, when hunting for a mate, people are more most likely to click on profiles of people they consider attractive. This is normal human behavior: we like beautiful. However, the troubling part about what is going on with OkCupid is that, unlike in real life, people considered “unattractive” never get the chance to make up for their perceived visual shortcomings by showcasing their personality, which in many cases, can more than make up for less than perfect looks. Instead, the web gods are essentially deciding who is worthy of meeting who.
Talk about shallow.
Obviously, this controversy, whether overblown or not, has already undoubtedly led to a lot of bad press for OkCupid. If people consider a business discriminatory, they are less likely to patronize. Many won’t even consider using OkCupid following the website’s PR nightmare. The circle of judgment at first glance comes full circle.
It may be better to stick to the Cleveland (or wherever you live) local classifieds after all.
For more info:
The Huffington Post