Back in June, Facebook revealed that in the past, they had conducted a secret experiment on its users in which they manipulated the News Feed in order to see how it affected the feelings of its users. Naturally this did not sit well and there are some who are calling for Facebook to be investigated over their experiment.
Interestingly enough despite the backlash, online dating website OKCupid has recently announced that they have been conducting experiments on its users as well. In fact OKCupid seems to be pretty brazen with their claims, stating that if you’re using the Internet, there is a good chance that you’re already subject to hundreds of experiments.
According to OKCupid’s Christian Rudder, “But OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Neither does any other website. It’s not like people have been building these things for very long, or you can go look up a blueprint or something. Most ideas are bad. Even good ideas could be better. Experiments are how you sort all this out.”
That being said, OKCupid revealed that they had been conducting a trio of experiments on its users. One of the experiments obscured profile photos; the second hid profile text to see if it would affect personality ratings; and the third told some users that they were a better or worse match than what their software had actually predicted.
One user, a Zaz Harris from Redwood City, California was quoted as saying (via the New York Times), “I understand that that experimentation is part of the process. But I do think that experiment is a lot more invasive than the others because it could affect outcomes in a meaningful way.” What do you guys think? Any OKCupid users a little outraged that they were experimented on?