Following the outrage sparked by Facebook's recent admission of manipulating users' news feeds, dating site OkCupid hits back saying human experimentation online is perfectly acceptable.
While news of Facebook’s emotion-manipulation study sparked public outrage and investigations from regulators, dating site OkCupid is letting its users know that human experiments are a reality of using the Internet.
In a post called “We Experiment on Human Beings,” founder Christian Rudder took to OkCupid’s blog to defend human experimentation and remind users that such tests are extremely common and even beneficial to users.
“Guess what, everybody: if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site,” founder Christian Rudder wrote in a post on the OkTrends blog. “That’s how websites work.”
The post went on to detail three such experiments the site conducted with users.
Two of the experiments revolved around user photos, which play a big role, of course, in how users on a dating site interact with one another.
For one test in January 2013, “Love is Blind Day,” the site temporarily removed all users’ photos to see how it would affect their interactions. Unsurprisingly, the site’s traffic went down significantly, but those who did use the site in that time reportedly responded to first messages more often and exchanged contact information more quickly.