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Love in a Hopeless Place: Machine Learning at OkCupid
Love is not blind, as it turns out. But opposites attract when people think they are similar. At the same time, the results offer yet another example of how websites like OKCupid are sometimes used as social science laboratories — often without telling their subjects. In June, Facebook disclosed that it had tested to see if emotions were contagious, deliberately manipulating the emotional content of the news feeds for , people.
After the disclosure led to an uproar by users, privacy regulators in Europe began looking into whether the social network had broken any local laws.
Dating apps have been a recreational, sometimes even addictive activity for many for a long time now. In fact, the usage of dating apps has increased. This isn’t that surprising. People feel isolated and crave any kind of social contact. And then gamification which is such a natural part of dating apps and dating?
For others, quarantine and self-isolation encourage using apps regularly instead of on a night out and when drunk enough. Moreover, dating apps made some effort to adapt to the current situation. For example, Tinder made their Passport feature available to all members, allowing users to connect to anyone, anywhere in the world. So, in honor of the further rise of dating apps, we analyzed the most popular ones using Awario. The distribution of mentions by locations and languages shows that Tinder is mostly used in the US, followed by Brazil and the UK.
Tinder became somewhat a meme in times of quarantine which means that when people talk about isolation, they talk about Tinder. Just look at that Topic cloud! Surprised to see eHarmony so high up on the list?
How OKCupid Remains An Online Dating Powerhouse
S ecurity flaws on a free online dating platform could have resulted in dating disasters. If the flaws had been exploited, the vulnerabilities would have allowed hackers to access and steal the private data of OkCupid users, and then send messages from their account with impunity. OkCupid has over 50 million registered users and it is used in countries. However, the detailed personal information submitted by users also makes online dating services a lucrative target for threat actors, either for targeted attacks, or for selling stolen information to other hackers.
Researchers detailed a three-step attack method which would have enabled a hacker to target users:. Users do not need to take any action.
Dating website OkCupid purposefully set up bad matches and policy, OkCupid states it may use your information for research and analysis.
But to get things started, someone has to make the first move. In the physical world, maybe that means a subtle wink. Or presenting the other with an elaborately carved spoon. Traditionally, men take the initiative. On OkCupid however, women and men exhibit similar behavior when it comes to liking, browsing and having conversations. The playing field is also pretty even: there are 1. These women are progressive too, with 43 percent of women preferring to split the check compared to 17 percent of men.
Yet there is one crucial way in which women fail to take the lead. Most women — regardless of sexual orientation — do not send the first message, with straight woman 3. So we asked ourselves: why are ladies — in particular, straight women — less likely to spark a conversation? At first, we thought that women could be more passive because they get a lot of attention. Some are sincere. Others are direct references to penises. Rarely do the two collide:.
More recently, a plethora of market-minded dating books are coaching singles on how to seal a romantic deal, and dating apps, which have rapidly become the mode du jour for single people to meet each other, make sex and romance even more like shopping. The idea that a population of single people can be analyzed like a market might be useful to some extent to sociologists or economists, but the widespread adoption of it by single people themselves can result in a warped outlook on love.
M oira Weigel , the author of Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating , argues that dating as we know it—single people going out together to restaurants, bars, movies, and other commercial or semicommercial spaces—came about in the late 19th century.
Key Words: OkCupid; Online dating; Data science; Big data; Logistic data analysis, multivariate relationships, text analysis, and logistic.
TL;DR: OkCupid took what young people hate about basic swiping apps and corny dating sites and rebranded into a hip middle ground. Its multi-faceted matchmaking, spotlight on social justice, and low price point make it stand out from competitors. Let’s cut the mushy bullshit and get straight to the point: Online dating gets old real fast.
Connecting with people you likely wouldn’t have met before sounds amazing at first, but the steps preceding that potential success story can be cumbersome. What’s the point of answering questions that everyone lies about anyway if a site’s algorithm ignores your filters regardless? All it gets you is weirdos terrorizing your inbox, people who are about to retire , or someone who just wants to bang , even if you requested to only see users who marked that they’re ready to get monogamous.
OkCupid may be able to change your mind.
OkCupid review 2019: A hip dating site that’s way less lame than the competition
This digital onslaught of dating sites and apps has led to increased industrial competition and the risk of an oversaturated market. At present, OKC boasts more than 3. And in this analytical department, OKC remains a pioneer. Started in by four Harvard math majors, OKC is striking, a data-driven brand. Because OKC is free and encourages its users to submit personal information on their lifestyles , the site has exclusive access to large swathes of data, which it uses to improve user interaction.
Why not let science take over the dating process?
Michael Kaye, a communications manager at OkCupid, said the dating site has seen a 30% increase in global daily messages. This isn’t that.
I n mid-August, couples and lonely hearts packed a Brooklyn basement to hear scientists make sense of something the crowd could not: love. In , Rudder started OKTrends, an in-house blog for OKCupid, as a way to attract new members to a site that was nearly out of money. The posts covered such topics as the best camera angle for a profile picture and how people lie on their profiles — the mysteries online daters wonder about. All of a sudden, Rudder, a one-time indie actor and rock star, had transformed himself into a dating laureate for the data age.
Savvy book publishers took note. In Rudder proposed a book based on his blog, and Crown outlasted nine other publishers with a seven-figure bid. Accompanied by a slideshow, he brought up a chart 1 of how straight women rate the men on OKCupid based on their age. The crowd lost it — groans, hoots, hollers, total, uproarious laughter. Rudder demurred. The questioner interrupted. She was looking for a clear-cut answer, a capital-T Truth. In the age of Big Data, the empirical has deciphered the intimate.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Spreadsheet
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If you’ve ever dated anyone, you know that dating inherently (er, ideally) involves people with a mutual interest in each other. But to get things started, someone.
Results explored in this document include the demographics of sex, age, income, religiosity, drinking, and ethnicity of OkCupid users and, as a specific analysis, the correlation of drinking habits to religiosity, income, sex and age. The data set consists of user profile data for 59, San Francisco OkCupid users a free online dating website from June The data are describded in the paper: Albert Y. Kim, Adriana Escobedo-Land Journal of Statistics Education, 23 2 , which you can find here.
This quick tour first looks at a few individual female – male behavior trends in the first section below , and then focuses on the correlation of drinking habits to some of these trends in the second section. The MHU of the entire data set is a male. He eats mostly anything , drinks socially , but never takes drugs.
He speaks only english. Her body type is average and is 5′ 4″ tall. She eats mostly anything , drinks socially , but never takes drugs. She speaks only english.
OKCupid: A tale of potential dating disasters
With apps continually gaining access to more user data, large scale data leaks have become common and companies are either failing to protect user information, or abusing the access they have to customer data. Data leaks by dating apps are far more severe than leaks by other services, considering the information they have is usually more personal in nature. While OkCupid is understood to have fixed the issue now, it highlights the extent to the problem facing dating apps. This was able to be achieved using the man-in-the-middle MITM security protocol, a popular hacking tool, to intercept the communication between the app and the server.
Researchers demonstrate how a hacker could have accessed users’ sensitive data on OkCupid, a free online dating platform. Security flaws on.
Rosamond, Emily. In: Love’s Archive. Undoubtedly, online dating sites have profoundly changed personal lives. At times, they have accelerated serendipity, bringing together two people who will fall in love. Yet, as exemplars of a meeting point between intimate, personal lives and the algorithmic gaze of big data analytics, these platforms also speak to a profound rearrangement in the relations between private lives and privatized interests.
How can one best articulate this shift? For Badiou, dating sites make shopping lists out of love. Finding prospective partners based on shared interests fails to account for love as an event, which begins to construct a world of Two — a world lived from the perspective of difference. For Feher, on the other hand, sharing so problematic for Badiou is precisely the paradigm of neoliberal sociality.
Both derivative finance and online platforms privilege sharing of content, risk, interests, non-rival goods, investment and feeling. Thus, Feher argues, online dating platforms articulate a fundamental social question: in order to have a relationship, what must be shared? Is it a shared commitment, feelings, values, interests? OkCupid, founded by Christian Rudder and a host of other data scientists, trades in user data rather than subscription revenue.
The OkTrends blog reflects these analytics back to readers, exploring outcomes of their research on intimacy and partnership.
Exploratory Analysis of OkCupid dataset
Dating website OkCupid purposefully set up bad matches to see how people would behave. The site was unapologetic about the experiments, despite controversy over Facebook’s study to test if it could manipulate users’ emotions. He said, “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. When people were told they are a good match, they were more likely to send each other messages through the site. To test if its matching algorithm works and goes beyond the power of suggestion, OkCupid also told good matches that they were bad matches.
The unfortunate coincidence is that the fine-tuned analysis of dating‘s an OkCupid employee’s data analysis showed women rating men as.
When asked whether the researchers attempted to anonymize the dataset, Aarhus University graduate student Emil O. Data is already public. Some may object to the ethics of gathering and releasing this data. However, all the data found in the dataset are or were already publicly available, so releasing this dataset merely presents it in a more useful form.
The most important, and often least understood, concern is that even if someone knowingly shares a single piece of information, big data analysis can publicize and amplify it in a way the person never intended or agreed. Michael Zimmer, PhD, is a privacy and Internet ethics scholar. In each of these cases, researchers hoped to advance our understanding of a phenomenon by making publicly available large datasets of user information they considered already in the public domain.
Many of the basic requirements of research ethics—protecting the privacy of subjects, obtaining informed consent, maintaining the confidentiality of any data collected, minimizing harm—are not sufficiently addressed in this scenario. Since OkCupid users have the option to restrict the visibility of their profiles to logged-in users only, it is likely the researchers collected—and subsequently released—profiles that were intended to not be publicly viewable. The final methodology used to access the data is not fully explained in the article, and the question of whether the researchers respected the privacy intentions of 70, people who used OkCupid remains unanswered.
I contacted Kirkegaard with a set of questions to clarify the methods used to gather this dataset, since internet research ethics is my area of study. While he replied, so far he has refused to answer my questions or engage in a meaningful discussion he is currently at a conference in London. Numerous posts interrogating the ethical dimensions of the research methodology have been removed from the OpenPsych.
Not to fan the flames on the social justice warriors.
The OkCupid Blog
It features multiple-choice questions to match members. It is supported by advertising and by selling user data. Despite claiming the “site is completely free”,  users are increasingly charged for an array of once-free features, although registration remains free. While the site and app once supported multiple modes of communication, this has been restricted to messaging.
the government-funded nonprofit worked with cybersecurity company Mnemonic to analyze data traffic from 10 popular apps: Dating apps Tinder, OkCupid.
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