She does not believe in the coincidence. A few days before the release of its investigation on Tinder, Judith Duportail has learned that the application of dating to 800 million euros of annual turnover put an end to the use of the Elo Score, the mysterious note of desirability to which the users were submitted, and that the company has always kept a secret. “Elo is no longer relevant in Tinder,” said the american firm, in a statement posted on its website on march 15. “The problem with this blog post, it is that one is obliged to believe them on word,” notes Judith Duportail. How did this note ? “When your profile is shown to someone, you are matched against someone else. If the person against you has a rating high and you like, you earn points. If it has the odds are low, and ignores you… you lose “, she summarizes.
Sitting in a café in paris, the independent journalist of 32 years, publishes The Love under algorithm (Editions Drop of Gold, 2018). A book that oscillates between the intimate witnessing of a single young woman, which multiplies the appointment via Tinder, and the investigation of a journalist who seeks to learn more about the mysterious functioning of the application. Sprinkled analyses of a sociological or technical applications of meetings. According to a spokesman for Game Group (the parent company of Tinder), this survey offers ” an interpretation fallacious of these patents, the system of matching and the application of the patent to the platform Tinder “. “I started taking interest when I discovered that it was all a Elo Score. It was an echo of a bad memory of the college when a boy was assigned a note to all the girls in our band. Me, I had 5/10. So, when I realized that my phone was going to notice me, I asked myself how it was happening. “
In 2017, the journalist had already managed to get its 800 pages of personal data stored by Tinder to study his profile, under the european law on data protection. Times and places of connection, content of conversations, account Facebook, age limits applied to research, place of work, level of education, photos Instagram, everything was there. On the other hand, impossible to know its Elo Score.
also Read “With the sites and the apps, the meeting becomes a private matter”
“At best a client ; at worst, a product is”
Since its launch in 2012, Tinder has built a solid reputation. In six years, the app was founded by Sean Rad and the company’s property Game Group (which also owns Meetic, Okcupid, or Match.com) has acquired more than 60 million users in the world.
beyond its economic success, the company has always touted to defend equality between the sexes. But during its investigation, Judith Duportail realized that the technologies used to support the “matches” (mutual accreditation between the two profiles in order to engage in a discussion) were ” in total contradiction with the values they preach every day.” She put the hand on a patent of 27 pages filed by two of the co-founders of Tinder, entitled ” US 2018/0150205A1 “, and in free access on Google Patent. We can notably read, example in support, ” the server may be configured to weight differently the differences and similarities of demographic, according to the sex of the user “. According to Judith Duportail, ” this patent draws a algorithm which allows the possibility of fostering the relationship between older men with young women, less wealthy and less educated “.
The reasoning of the company is not innocent. In his book Dataclysm (bachelor in English at Harper Collins Libri), Christian Rudder explains, data to support, that, unlike women, men are interested only on women between 21 and 24 years old. “As soon as she is of legal age to drink alcohol, a girl is already too old,” quipped the author. The app Tinder is focusing on the experience of its users are male ? They are the most numerous on the application. In the United States, nearly two users in three would be men. “It is this huge pool of men frustrated that pay for access to these women with which they do not discuss in public places. “And it works, the application has become the most profitable of the Apple Store in front of Netflix or Candy Crush. This, in fact, that Judith Duportail that” it is at best a client ; at worst a product “.
Handling affinities and note desirability
In analyzing the 27 pages of the patent owned by Tinder, Judith Duportail discovered that our way of “matcher” there is nothing hazardous. Thus, the algorithm is able to find points in common between two users through their photos, biography, and any data that is shared, in order to promote the games. You view them with a guitar in his arms ? You will be classified in the category “artist” by the algorithm, and Tinder, and, therefore, likely to encounter a music fan – that has transmitted its data Spotify. A photo of you on a bike and you will be rather of the profiles of ” sports “. Little by little, Judith Duportail recognizes situations troubling : “Bah, this is why you’ve been saoulée by all the jokes about BlaBlaCar is that you were the guys… The app is really introduced to the fans of the car !” joked the journalist in his book. Indeed, so powerful as it is, the technology has not yet recognized the sarcasm of humans.
Not only the algorithm of Tinder suggests you some of the profiles, and dismiss others, but the application is also interested in your unconscious, in particular the “myth of destiny” that often affects couples. “When two people fall in love, they will look for common points. Myself, I’ve done this with each of the lovers “, tells the story of Judith Duportail. Concretely, ” the server may be configured to make a profile more attractive in the eyes of a user by indicating coincidences “, one can read in the famous patent. You thought that the fate you had met your date for the evening ? In fact, Tinder had already spotted your common passions with your photos or “likes” on Facebook and thus optimized the chances of snapping. A bad impression according to Judith Duportail : “I found it terrifying, in fact, it is handled as a Sim’s [characters of video games, editor’s NOTE]. “
The algorithm Tinder would also be able to assign you a “notice of physical attractiveness” as “people with the same level of attractiveness are more likely to hear,” to estimate your IQ in analysing the quality of your messages, by means of tests of language developed by the u.s. army. It may even decide to cheat on the geographical location in close to a virtual profile that suits you particularly. In short, “we have a bit the impression of being an astronaut with 12,000 sensors trained on us,” sums up Judith Duportail. Despite this patent, the open-access, Tinder refuses to reveal what technologies are used or not used in the algorithm of Tinder. “However, we would gain in transparency to understand how works this algorithm,” says the journalist. And to conclude : “I dream of an application of the qualitative, where we know the rules of the game. “The road still seems long.
“The Love algorithm” by Judith Duportail was published march 21 in the library.
© Editions Gold Drop
Love under algorithm, march 2018, Editions Goutte d’or, 232 pages, 17 euros.
On the same subject, Should we be afraid of Yubo, the Tinder for teens ?