Tinder is A/B testing your face


As any veteran of online dating knows, photos can make or break your chances on Tinder.

Tinder has pointed out that not smiling, covering a part or all of your face, being in a group photo, and wearing hats or glasses are deal-breakers. With the popular dating app’s latest feature, it’s analyzing the effectiveness of individual users’ photos and adjusting what’s shown in their profiles based on which of their photos get more people to swipe right.

A new feature called Smart Photos launched Thursday (Oct. 13), and it aims to maximize your chances of finding a match. Tinder is using machine learning to identify which photos work and which don’t.

It starts out with some A/B testing—swapping the photo first seen by others when your profile is shown on Tinder. Then it analyses the responses by who swipes left (to decline a connection) or right (to agree to one). Based on those responses, it reorders your photos to show your most successful one first. During testing, users saw up to a 12% increase in matches, the company said in a blog post.

The algorithm also adjusts to the personal preferences of its users. For example, if a picture of you hugging a puppy is your tried-and-tested best bet, that will generally show up as your first photo. But if your profile is shared with someone who almost always swipes left on dog photos, Tinder will pick an alternative image to show them.

“Smart Photos takes into account each individual’s swiping pattern when selecting which of your photos they’ll see first,” the company wrote. “It’s a system that gets smarter with more input: the more you swipe and the more you’re swiped on, the better the algorithm serves you.”

Other dating services have used similar systems. OKCupid alerts members when they are not using their most effective photos. And the dating app Dine arranges your photos according to popularity.

For those who feel nervous about the app choosing how you present yourself to suiters, you can also turn the feature off.

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