The premise was simple: For a day, we removed all the profile pictures on the site.
Users howled — site traffic dropped more than 80 percent that day.
In any human interaction, there will always be some amount of posturing.
But online dating isn’t especially vulnerable to our collective weakness for self-flattering fibs. In 2010, Boston’s “Craigslist killer” was charged with murdering a woman he had met online (he later committed suicide in jail).
Match.com, for example, now checks its users against the National Sex Offender Registry and deletes the profiles of anyone found on the list.
Online dating allows people to browse partners from their own homes.
But while it’s tempting to shave off a couple of pounds or add a couple of inches, studies show that online dating profiles are, fundamentally, quite honest.
Gwendolyn Seidman, writing in Psychology Today, explains it well: “Online daters realize that while, on the one hand, they want to make the best possible impression in their profile, on the other hand, if they do want to pursue an offline relationship, they can’t begin it with outright falsehoods that will quickly be revealed for what they are.” That’s not to say every profile is the gospel truth, of course. Ok Cupid has found, for example, that men and women more or less uniformly add two inches to their height.
In 2013, Mary Kay Beckman sued for million after a man she met on the site came to her Las Vegas home with a knife and an intent to kill.
But despite the occasional bad press, the numbers suggest that online dating is very safe.
Although there are no comprehensive numbers, executives with other sites report similarly low levels of abuse.