How Singles ‘Hacked’ the Dating App Algorithm

Whether users love or hate dating apps, it is the algorithms behind these platforms which often hold responsibility. A recent investigation looks at how two users, tired of negative experiences, decided to ‘hack’ dating app algorithms.

In a recent podcast from the Cut, The Verge, and the Vox Media Podcast Network, interviewers explore how dating app algorithms work. They explain that previously apps used an ELO score, where users who received more likes were shown other desired singles.

But the ELO system was changed, and now apps learn from conversations, swipes, and exchanged phone numbers to recommend suitable potential matches.

But two users started experimenting with different strategies to ‘game’ these algorithms after failing to get numerous high quality matches. Their strategies lead to very different results.

One woman told the podcast that after not getting many matches, she decided to be less picky and start matching with anyone and everyone. But playing the numbers game had the opposite effect, as she began to see poorer quality of matches, thanks to the algorithm.

Alternatively, a man wanted more matches, and so made his dating profile bland and generic. The impact of this? He began getting more matches than he had before, just by removing authentic and unique details from his profile.

These anecdotes may prove useful to users and dating app engineers alike, as they both look for the perfect algorithm. 

Click here to listen to the podcast ‘The Secret Algorithms That Control Your Love Life’.