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OKCupid admits to uninformed ‘scientific’ testing 01.08.14

The Telegraph: Dating site deliberately matched people who were not compatible

Christian Rudder, CEO of dating site OKCupid, posted a blog admitting to experimenting on its users by intentionally matching people that its algorithm deemed incompatible. His admission comes hot off the heels of revelations that Facebook was experimenting with groups of its users’ moods.

Both controversial experiments have raised concerns around the methods used, lack of lack of consent and the potential ramifications of experiments. There are moral ambiguities around altering the state of someone’s mood or matching two people who may not have any romantic chemistry.

Some critics have argued that experiments like OKCupid and Facebook’s should adhere to principles of informed consent that is practiced in the scientific community.

In defence of the OKCupid experiment, Rudder explained that the tests help the company enhance its offering.

“When we tell people they are a good match, they act as if they are,” he wrote. “Even when they should be wrong for each other.”

“Most ideas are bad… Even good ideas could be better. Experiments are how you sort all this out.”

He then went on to argue that any time you go online, you are subject to hundreds of experiments on every website.

“That’s how websites work.”

Story from the Telegraph