Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but that isn’t stopping one dating app from bluntly letting users just how hot (or not) they are to potential partners.
As part of a new feature, the UK-based dating app Once is evaluating its users’ photos and ranking their level of attractiveness on a scale from 1 to 5 to help them set their sights on more realistic matches — or at least that’s the idea.
Other mainstream dating apps reportedly use similar algorithms to assign internal ratings to facilitate better pairings; however, Once founder and CEO Jean Meyer told the New York Post that he doesn’t see the point of hiding such crucial information from users just to spare their feelings.
Brutally honest: As part of a new feature, the UK-based dating app Once is evaluating its users’ photos and ranking their level of attractiveness on a scale from 1 to 5
‘[Ranking algorithms] are the unspoken secrets of the dating industry,’ he said. ‘We know we’re doing it, we know our competition is doing it, so why not be transparent?’
As Meyer explained to The Post, more evenly matched pairs have a better chance of going the distance compared to ‘an 8 with a 3.’
However, users’ fates aren’t necessarily sealed by just their pictures. If someone with a lower rating matches with someone who is a 4 or a 5, his or her ranking will get a boost.
[Ranking algorithms] are the unspoken secrets of the dating industry
But that means that those with a higher rank are not only getting paired with the cream of the crop looks wise, their likes also have more weight.
It seems inevitable that people will be upset by their low numbers, but Meyer stressed that they should take their ratings, which are based solely on photos, to heart.
‘We are disclosing the rate of how your pictures are perceived, it doesn’t mean you’re ugly or you’re beautiful,’ Meyer explained. ‘It only reflects one attribute of who you are — your pictures.’
Aside from hurt feelings, racial division is another issue of concern.
A 2018 study by Cornell University found that mobile dating apps that allow users to filter their searches by race, or rely on algorithms that pair up people of the same race reinforce racial divisions and biases.
Once launched in London in 2015 and landed in other European countries before debuting in the U.S. in 2018.
No swiping: The dating app is already unique in that users only receive one ‘carefully selected match based on tastes and the information provided’ per day
Another feature: Last year, the app introduced an Uber-style rating system that allows female users to give feedback on their matches
The dating app is unique in that users only receive one ‘carefully selected match based on tastes and the information provided’ per day, meaning no more time spent swiping left or right.
Last year, the app took steps to make women feel more confident in their matches by introducing an Uber-style rating system that allows them to give feedback after their dates.
Female users of the Once app can share feedback on their match that will then be visible to other users, making males users far less likely to dabble in ungentlemanly behavior such as ghosting or — worse still — standing up a woman for an IRL date.
The app’s male founder said the new function puts ‘women first,’ and encourages men to ‘behave’ by making them accountable for their online actions.
It only reflects one attribute of who you are — your pictures
Women have to first to confirm they have been on a date in real life, before giving their match a 1 to 5-star rating and leaving a comment to sum up the experience.
The new functionality also gives both men and women the chance to rate the accuracy of one another’s photos — cutting out potential ‘cat-fishers’ who use other people’s photos to set up bogus internet profiles.
Once said it is addressing widespread concerns among online daters after research it carried out with YouGov revealed one in six people know of a date on which one party did not resemble their online profile photo.
The same poll of 2,000 people revealed that 41 per cent of men would be more honest on their dating profile if they knew it would affect a rating other potential matches could see.
Despite the ‘women-first’ approach, Meyer told FEMAIL at the time of the new feature’s launch he’s not worried about men being scared off of the app.
‘It helps make men behave,’ he said. ‘This innovation will not scare genuine men who use dating app appropriately. I believe it will encourage more positive behaviors from men whilst seeking a partner online.’
He added: ‘We want to ensure that our users can expect to meet the same person in real life that they are speaking to on our app — it removes issues with authenticity.’