Dating Site OkCupid Says they Experiment on People Because They Do Not Know What They are Doing

Dating website OkCupid seems to think that Facebook’s manipulation of their subscriber’s news feeds as an emotional experiment is perfectly ok. Their reasoning? “That's how websites work.” Yes you read that right. According to Co-Founder Christian Rudder this type of thing goes on all the time and so it should not be a surprise to anyone and no one should be upset about it.

Now I am not sure if you remember this from when you were a kid, but I am pretty sure the excuse that “everyone is doing it” just does not fly. There are lots of things that are going on all the time in the world, but that does not make them right be default. The fact that this type of argument can be used to justify experimenting on people that are looking to you for a service like dating is just ridiculous.

In a blog post Rudder stated that OkCupid had actually gone so far as to lie to people about their compatibility to see what would happen. After all, according to Rudder “OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Neither does any other website.” That means they have to do this type of experiment just to figure things out.

The response to this announcement shows that the excuse of everyone is doing it/ we are just trying to figure things out, is not going to fly. There has to be a line of ethics somewhere in there and we are pretty sure that performing experiments like this without expressed permission is not exactly legal. Of course lately legal and illegal do not seem to be terms that can be applied to corporations. Facebook did not have any consequences for their actions and it is unlikely that OkCupid’ revelation will have any legal effects on their either.

What a sad commentary on the state of the world that this type of manipulation is happening and that no one is going to do anything to prevent it…

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