Dating apps are an obvious part of dating in the modern day, whether you like them or not.
Employees behind some of the most popular dating apps were recently invited to divulge their secrets in a viral Reddit thread: “What’s the craziest user statistic or behind-the-scenes fact you discovered?”
Employee secrets were a combination of unexpected, bizarre, and downright depressing. Here are some of the most popular user responses:
1. “The number of unsolicited dick images men would send women, often without any accompanying words, was shocking. Because internet dating is a cesspool, you’d anticipate it, but the sheer volume would still surprise you. ‘Yes, that’s a penis,’ I had to declare after looking at each purported photo.” —Jimmypeglegs
2. “We used to make fictitious accounts and interact with other individuals. It might have been anything from a premium account that wasn’t getting any responses to bored personnel.” —SupermanistheDR
3. “On our platform, there was a murder. As witnesses, the company’s top executives were interviewed. To be honest, there wasn’t much we could have done about it, but it’s still odd to think about.” —throwaway492130921
4. “The algorithms aren’t as clever as you may imagine. The algorithm’s main purpose is always to get you to pay, not to assure you meet someone in real life, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise.” —throwaway492130921
5. “Because female dating app users log off for the day several hours earlier than male dating app users, males who log in after 10 p.m. are unlikely to find many logged in female users. Dating apps can pay for huge armies of ‘ghosts’ to keep these males feeling that there is genuine female engagement on the site (and so continue to pay for memberships). Males, mainly young men in their late teens and early twenties from France, Serbia, Ukraine, and Russia, manage ghost profiles using images of real women.” —yetorico
6. “Many apps include enticing bots to keep users interested. A number of mediocre queries will be sent/received by the bots. ‘Have you had a good week?’ ‘What are you looking for?’ he asks, before disappearing. Regardless of the ghost, the rush of matching with a highly attractive individual who speaks to you is enough to entice many people into chasing the dragon.” —pugtheghost
7. “In the mid-2000s, I worked as a software developer for a dating service. Every single female profile was a forgery. They were ‘created’ profiles based on arbitrary data and paid-for sexual photographs obtained from a variety of sources.”—dazecoop
8. “The majority of the female users were imposters. We would constantly import hundreds of phoney profiles to inflate the numbers and fool the guys into thinking there were thousands of women on the platform.” —matt95110
9. “I was the operations manager for an online dating service (notably not affiliated with Match). We were able to figure out that it takes approximately three dates on average before sex happens (I don’t know how we did it; I’m not a data scientist), but it was probably some keyword-based algorithm looking through chat conversations.” —jamesinc
10. “Women often exaggerate their age and weight, while males exaggerate their height and salaries. Also, it’s a significant issue that women get a lot of DMs but most males don’t.” —ChickumNWaffles
11. “Regardless of how fantastic their profile is, men get VERY FEW matches. Women receive a lot of matches, but the majority of them are ineffective.”—Katamende
12. “The most depressing stat…was the histogram of word count in messages. Something like 91% of opening messages were just one word ‘hey,’ and ~85% of conversations were just one exchange long (‘hey’ -> no reply ever). Looking at human, digital mating habits splayed out in data science form was really depressing.”—trias10
13. “One of our members got scammed out of six figures, and there was nothing we could do about it. She was older, and lonely, and the person used an attractive picture and kind words to play off of that. If you let them, people will find any way to scam and abuse those who are lonely. Some of our systems for detecting and removing scammers and spammers were far more advanced than our systems for actually creating matches.”—throwaway492130921
14. “People get scammed often. Lonely people are vulnerable and get scammed out of money and gifts.” —throwitawaydate3109
15. “Guys swipe right on 47% of profiles. Women only swipe right on 12%. I knew some guys would swipe right more than women, wasn’t prepared for how little women swipe right!”—elatedate
16. “Men like way more indiscriminately than women. (Some would say men ‘are less picky,’ but that would imply a selection process more rigorous than, ‘Are they hot?’, which I have no evidence to support).” —rubencodes
17. “My roommate used to work at one of the big dating apps and one of the issues they had was that their algorithm changed at one point to more emphatically enforce dating ‘pools’ where people who got more right swipes would only see profiles of people who get more right swipes, etc. With the idea being that it would put people in similar ‘tiers’ to actually match. One big issue they were having was…well, racial ‘preferences’ or sexual racism being pretty amplified as a result. Black women and Asian men especially were being overwhelmingly shuffled down the algorithm because there are a lot of people who will basically automatically swipe left on them as soon as they see they’re a Black woman or an Asian man, even if they were hot as hell.”—PhiloPhocion
18. “Customer complaints were fun. The staff in that department were insane because they had seen and heard everything. The only way you got a refund is if you figured out all of the women were fake.” —matt95110
Check out the full thread on Reddit.
Disclaimer: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or simplicity.