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Daily Talker: OKCupid Conducts Social Experiment on Users

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Another website is telling users it altered the information its users saw as part of a social experiment.

In a blog post, OKCupid announced the results of three experiments it had conducted. In one, profile photos were obscured. In a second, profile text was hidden to see how personality ratings were affected. In a third, it told users they were more or less compatible with someone.

OKCupid President Christian Rudder defended the experiments on the company’s blog, saying the tests were done to see how people can get the most out of the website.

“If you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site,” Rudder wrote. “That’s how websites work.”

Last month, Facebook announced it had manipulated the kinds of posts users saw on their timelines to see how it affected their moods. In both cases, the websites terms of service disclose that user data may be used for research and analysis.

What do you think of OK Cupid’s disclosure? Are warnings in a terms of service document enough, or should websites be more upfront if they manipulate what you see? Share your comments below, and watch for them on WBZ News in the Morning from 4:30 to 7:00 a.m.

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