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

Keep an energy journal to super-charge your working day

Forever fire-fighting? This trick will change everything

by Anna Brech
29 Jun 2017

This is the top challenge couples face when it comes to being happy

Conquer it to live together free and fearlessly

by Anna Brech
29 Jun 2017

Women rejects police apology after they ignore 125 stalking reports

Helen Pearson was targeted for four years by her neighbour

by Jasmine Andersson
29 Jun 2017

We’re obsessed with this child’s impression of “hot mess” millennials

“I’m sorry I was eight hours late for brunch yesterday”

by Kayleigh Dray
29 Jun 2017

Tories cheer after blocking Labour bid to raise emergency services pay

Social media users found the response crass given recent events

by Elle Griffiths
29 Jun 2017

Collective kindness projects that re-tap our sense of human decency

A little empathy goes a long way

by Anna Brech
29 Jun 2017

A prescription for happiness from Bhutan’s happiness guru

“Remain with yourself, connecting your mind, your body and your thoughts together”

by Anna Brech
29 Jun 2017

BMA votes to make abortion legal in England and Wales

It is still an offence punishable by life in prison

by Amy Swales
28 Jun 2017

36 fashionable Irish baby names taking the world by storm

These melodic baby names all hail from the emerald isle…

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Jun 2017

Rosé ice cream is the summer treat we all deserve

The latest food fad combines two of our favourite things

by Elle Griffiths
28 Jun 2017