OkCupid Says It Lied About Matches, Experiments on Users

One of the nation's most popular online dating site is admitting it set up customers with bad matches.
3:07 | 07/29/14

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Transcript for OkCupid Says It Lied About Matches, Experiments on Users
They say all is fair in love. But the popular online dating site okcupid is causing some outrage because it's admitted that it has been lying to some of its users. ABC's Mara schiavocampo is here with that story. Good morning, Mara. Reporter: Amy, good morning. Okcupid has revealed it's been conducting secret experiments on its users without telling them including turning matches into mismatches misleading users about who they're actually compatible with. While okcupid says all of this helps them better understand how online romance works not many users are in love with the idea of being used as human Guinea pigs. Finding love is hard. That's why so many people are heading to online dating like Theodore in "Her." So that means she's funny and brainy. Reporter: But now one of the nation's most popular dating sites is admitting it set up customers with bad matches on purpose. Okcupid posting this controversial blog Monday titled "We experiment on human beings." Not exactly what you want to hear when you're trying to find your match. I absolutely think that this violated the trust of users. Reporter: But okcupid says there was a method to its mismatch madness. The company says it took pairs of daters who rated 30% combatable based on okcupid questionnaires and told them they were actually 90% combatable. Resulting, they say, in some of those couples exchanging more messages. That message turned into a conversation about twice as often when we told them that they were a good match. Reporter: Then they did the cupid shuffle and told people who were actually good for each other that they had little chance of being combatable. But by what some people may call the power of love they still seemed to find each other. We could take two people who are right for each other and say, no, they're wrong and end up messages much much as we let them in on the truth. Reporter: This isn't the first time they performed an experiment of love, in January of 201 they took away everyone's photos. The results fascinating. People responded to first messages 44% more often. Conversations went deeper and contact details were exchanged faster. However, when the photos were restored many of those conversations came to a halt. As for this latest experiment, not everyone is thrilled. It's a little like off-putting. You need to choose a site that wants to protect you, not betray you. Reporter: But okcupid insists its arrow and ethics are not broken. Now, okcupid did tell their users about the experiment after the fact. A lot of people have actually compared this to what Facebook did last month when they manipulated users' feeds to see if emotions were contagious. We should point out that okcupid's user agreement does say your data can be used in research and analysis. If you believe in fate like I do, maybe that mismatch, the experiment, is what leads you to your perfect match. They probably learned a lot through that. It might have led to dates or love. Opposites attract and then they attack. Just saying. Wow! Wow. I never heard that quote before. So beautiful. I share it with you all.

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