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In a chilling account discussed on the podcast, a Dating Ring user, upon receiving the name and phone number of a match, was said to have replied: “I hope that’s a typo, because that name doesn’t sound white to me.” Whenever someone tells me that discussing online dating is a waste of time, I refer to that anecdote and two sad truths about the online dating industry that Dating Ring’s founders discovered: First, giving people the tools to act on racial bias is profitable; and second, it is not fair to users who are discriminated against to be matched with people who are biased against their racial group and, as a result, will dismiss them as potential matches.

So Dating Ring moved away from its original design.

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For instance, in 2013, Ok Cupid removed users’ profile photos for one day, dubbing it “Love is Blind Day.” People couldn’t tell who was, well, what.

They complained bitterly, as OKCupid co-founder and president Christian Rudder chronicled in his book, “Dataclysm.” When the profile pictures returned, many conversations and interactions that had budded in the photos’ absence — and which Ok Cupid found to be qualitatively better than usual — fizzled.

Newer sites have had similar experiences with racial bias.

Dating Ring, the matchmaking company followed in the second season of the “Start Up” podcast, tried to improve the dating experience for minorities, but their users often pushed back.

Did I really want to contribute to businesses that felt they had no choice but to cater to people’s racial biases to stay afloat? I’ve logged off from the handful of sites and apps I had been using.

But I have not lost hope in the online-dating industry.It allowed users to select the racial groups with which they did not want to be matched.Listening to that podcast heavily influenced my decision to quit online dating.“Online dating is simply a technological layer that helps to remove some friction in the space, and makes it easier for people to meet other people that they were already more or less looking to meet.But so far, it hasn’t proven to be the greatest force for social change, other than by making data about trends more easily accessible, and opening up dialogues on important issues like these.” That last part has stuck with me.So, there are certain circumstances, as this study found, that may temporarily reduce racial bias.

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