How does Tinder’s matching mechanism work
Tinder is a known, widely used dating app that so many people stuck on. Even though there exists a plenty of other dating apps in the market, Tinder is a preferable one probably because of its successful matching mechanism. The actual developers of the app keep their algorithm private in order to prevent copycat apps. However, tech experts analyzed the app and had some relevant speculations of the technology behind its recommendation engine.
Note: Actually, I’ve never used this app before but I have an insight on how it works — thanks to my best friend who met her fiance via Tinder :)
So, my knowledge is restricted, any comments on the arguments written here would be appreciated :)
When you first download and start using the app, you select the gender of your interest. Then system starts to show you the cards of the people you might be interested in near your location. However, although the system has no idea about your taste or your criteria in terms of attractiveness at the beginning, you somehow end up liking (or in Tinder’s language, swiping right) the first showing people. This is probably because the most attractive people are shown you at the beginning to keep you online in the app and make you think that you always meet attractive people in Tinder. But how can system sort people by their attractiveness? According to tech experts’ implications, the system has some sort of ranking system. Tinder’s CEO also confirms that they have a ranking system even it sounds plaguesome. Briefly describing, every user is assigned an internal rating referred to as “Elo score”. This score is basically calculated based on the right swipes on you, but of course, there exist other criteria like your education, the content of your profile picture etc.
But what if you’re shown to the people that don’t find you attractive? of course, your “attractiveness” rate slowly drops off. It wouldn’t be fair and mirror real life because different people have different standards and thus, would rate differently. On the other hand, if you’re rated by the people who has ratings close to yours, your rate starts increasing and it wouldn’t be fair either. It seems like Tinder developers found a solution to this issue. It is anticipated that each user’s votes are weighted depending on their value to the network. It means that, unfortunately, if you’re found more attractive by this system, you’re more likely to be shown to more attractive profiles. Nevertheless, I think this is the most effective solution found so far in order to bring the balance to the system.
Another criterion of this recommendation engine might be “being online”. It might also affect your ranking functions or your weight. If you’re online, you’re an active user and you’re more likely to have a conversation with your matchings. This criterion stands for increasing the popularity of the app. The more you log in, the more you have matches because you’re shown more often and consequently, you obtain a high rank. Actually, this isn’t fair either, but it makes sense because most user’s being online makes the app more famous.
I think there are lots of ethical issues of this recommendation engine. Ranking people by their attractiveness is totally irritating. Moreover, considering the criterions of this recommendation engine, I can say that this app stands for the people who is searching for a temporal relationship(s). How about the people who search for a long and serious relationship? Stay away from that app and don’t trust the people you met via Tinder! :)