The Internet dating website OkCupid has apparently been experimenting on clients by intentionally mismatching people. According to reports, the online matchmaker has been manipulating results so that people think they’re highly compatible even though internally OkCupid has determined they have little in common.
No harm? No foul?
I guess it depends on one’s definition of “harm.”
People invested their time, money, and emotions into going on dates with others they thought were a match because of misrepresentations made by the dating site about compatibility. This is the type of ecommerce behavior that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) typically frowns upon.
“At OkCupid we care very much about our community…” Source: OKCupid Safety Tips
What should OkCupid have done differently?
The site should have been transparent about its online dating compatibility experiment and obtained informed consent from its clients.
Under the “Conduct” section of the website’s Terms & Conditions, the site states that “[i]n your digital interactions with other users (including, but not limited to: site messages, instant messages, journal postings, and forum comments), you agree to conduct yourself civilly and respectfully.”
Perhaps the requirement should have been reciprocal. If OkCupid had treated its clients civilly and respectfully, this abuse of trust would have never occurred.