Why OkCupid ≠ Facebook

In the cheeky and candid way that those who follow OkTrends have come to love, Christian Rudder recently declared “We Experiment on Human Beings!”.

We noticed recently that people didn’t like it when Facebook “experimented” with their news feed. Even the FTC is getting involved. But guess what, everybody: if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work. Here are a few of the more interesting experiments OkCupid has run.

Rudder then summarized three intriguing experiments from OkTrend’s past. However, OkCupid (of which I’m a fan) is not Facebook (of which I’m not).

  1. OkCupid became well-known because of the intriguing and accessible analytics it writes up at OkTrends. At FaceBook, who knows what they are doing.
  2. People who use OkCupid likely know about OkTrends and have other choices. Resentful Facebook users like myself often feel like we have to use it to stay in touch with some friends. (And I’ve been disappointed in the recent spate of colleagues advocating that we use Facebook to discuss research interests. Uggh.)
  3. OkCupid’s research can actually be of use to its users, like what are the best questions for a first date? My impression is that Facebook’s research furthers its interests first-and-foremost, users be damned.

That’s just some of my quick intuitions, what other ways is OkCupid not like Facebook on this issue?

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