Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Tinder secretly rates the most and least desirable people on the dating app

ThinkstockPhotos-467782366.jpg

If you’re on Tinder, you know you’re being judged. Not by your friends – Tinder was, arguably, the app that destigmatised online dating for good – but by those faceless ‘people in your area’, selecting or rejecting you with the swipe of a screen. But in slightly disconcerting news, other Tinderers aren’t the only ones deciding whether you’re hot or not.

The app itself now ranks its users based on how many others find them attractive, using an algorithm to place everyone on a desirability scale. If you’re popular on the app, you’re more likely to have the chance to match with similarly desirable people. And if you’re not – well, you get the idea.

Tinder staff have named the internal rating system the ‘Elo score’, the score used in chess to rank players’ skill levels. “Every swipe is a way of casting a vote: I find this person more desirable than this person,” Tinder data analyst Chris Dumler told the Fast Company. “It might be because of attractiveness, or it might be because they had a really good profile.”

Phone

The app increases the chances of similarly attractive people matching with one another.

Ah, yes. Tinder bosses have been at pains to stress that this is not a simple matter of matching hotties with hotties. Neither is your ranking determined purely by how many people swipe right on you. “It’s very complicated,” said Tinder chief exec and co-founder Sean Rad. “It took us two and a half months just to build the algorithm because a lot of factors go into it." Rad doesn’t specify what those factors are, but they could be anything from what users have listed in their bio to how many successful matches they make.

Users’ scores are not made public, but journalist Austin Carr was given the chance to find his out when he interviewed Rad for Fast Company. He discovered he had a desirability score of 946, which is apparently "on the upper end of average". Carr wrote: "It's a vague number to process, but I knew I didn't like hearing it."

Some 1 million first dates are organised over Tinder every week. But if you’re wondering why your feed isn’t now flooded with eminently appropriate matches, remember that the Elo score can’t work as a universal ranking of attractiveness – mainly because not everyone finds the same things desirable.

“People are really polarized on even just a photographic level: some people really favor facial hair, while some do not,” Tinder data engineer Tol Solli-Nowlan told Fast Company. “Same thing with tattoos, photos with pets or children, excessive outdoors shots, or photos of you with a tiger.”

So while you’re more likely to match with someone with a similar level of Tinder popularity, it’s by no means guaranteed. Desire is just too fluid to be predicted by an algorithm – which is oddly reassuring. 

Related

ThinkstockPhotos-100636347.jpg

Is it ever appropriate to sign off work emails with a kiss?

youve got mail tech.jpg

The art of slow living: how to master a tech-life balance in 2016

ThinkstockPhotos-482690727.jpg

“Feminism has led to our casual hook-up culture, not dating apps”

40.JPG

Learn the art of a clutter-free desk with this Instagram account

anxiety-comics-funny-illustrations-gemma-correll-2__700.jpg

Illustrator perfectly captures the everyday anxieties we all deal with

lion king.jpg

Good news Disney fanatics: there’s now a dating site just for you

baby pod vagina.JPG

The vagina speaker that lets you play music to your unborn child

couple2.jpg

Watch: can these 36 questions make strangers fall in love?

42cdf434-c860-11e2-9a40-0025b511226e.jpg

New website helps the heartbroken sell their emotional baggage

Comments

More

How it feels to be a woman in America right now

"There is a sense of impending doom"

02 Dec 2016

Viewers slam Eamonn Holmes for ‘sexist’ treatment of GBBO's Candice

“He’s making me so uncomfortable – poor Candice”

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

The 12 surprising health benefits of mulled wine

Mulled wine, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways…

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Pensioner, 89, offered bar job after "stop me dying from boredom" ad

We love a story with a happy ending

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Bake Off fans, you can now apply to be on Channel 4’s GBBO

On your marks, get set, baaaaake…

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Inventor of new £5 note brands vegans “stupid” over animal fat debate

"It's stupid. It's absolutely stupid."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
02 Dec 2016

Baby it’s Cold Outside has been given a feminist makeover

The troubling Christmas song has been transformed into an epic consent anthem

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

You’d be more productive if you could work from a café, study finds

Tell your boss.

by Moya Crockett
02 Dec 2016

The best low-alcohol swaps for your favourite beers, wines and spirits

Time for a booze-not-booze?

by Amy Swales
01 Dec 2016

Dorchester issues “disgusting” list of beauty demands to female staff

Women have been told to shave their legs and wear full make-up

by Sarah Biddlecombe
01 Dec 2016