2019-07-30

Are online dating applications designed to make us react in a certain way? Why do men do not attract enough attention and women increasingly receive insults and inappropriate messages? Our grantees, Judith Duportail and Nicolas Kayser-Bril, investigated how the architecture of a dating application influences how users behave. 

Judith Duportail, a journalist who is long been scrutinizing how dating applications influence society and data journalist Nicolas Kayser-Bril attempted to reverse-engineer a dating application's recommendation engine in order to find out how that specific dating platform influenced the lives of heterosexual men and women.

Their findings showed that each gender operates in a separate universe. Men are "liked" (or swiped right) once every fifty swipes, while women are swiped right half of the time. This causes frustration among men (which might be engineered by the application to maximize income) and aggressiveness towards women. 

The data used in the investigation came from a "data donation" night organized in cooperation with the non-profit Tactical Tech. Duportail and Kayser-Bril built a mini-website where data donors could log in with their social media credentials. The website then used the dating application's API to browse through the recommendations (i.e. profiles) the application offered each user. These recommendations' pictures had "success rates", which were subsequently extracted and analyzed to compute averages by gender.

Judith Duportail

Judith Duportail is an independent French journalist, living in Berlin. 

Nicolas Kayser-Bril

Nicolas Kayser-Bril is a French data journalist based in Berlin.

Supported
€ 7.600 allocated on 7/31/2018
ID
JF/JA2A/443