Computing Cupid: Online Dating and the Faith of Romantic Algorithms
AbstractThe religious identity and preferences of daters increasingly constitute key data in algorithmic matchmaking processes, including religious dating sites. This article explores the implication of online dating algorithms for religious people looking for romantic relationships. The article demonstrates that, while religious dating sites reinforce heteronormativity, using narrow theologies and algorithms, the work they do on these sites further entrench these attitudes at much deeper, invisible, and ubiquitous levels. Using data from a study of more than 20 Christian dating websites and several sources of public discourses on online dating algorithms, this article shows that online dating sites centre their offerings around a particular interpretation of Godâ€™s plans for romantic relationships. These sites also position their services and algorithms as mediators or facilitators of such plans. I argue that in mining user data, these dating sites mine culture with some of its biases and norms. Thus, users, algorithms, dating technologies, account settings, and the system designers co-create user experiences and the cultural outcome of user interactions with online dating technologies, including how these shape their core values and attitudes surrounding gender and sexuality.
Amoore, Louise. Algorithmic Life: Calculative Devices in the Age of Big Data. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge, 2015. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315723242.
Grant D. Bollmer, Theorizing Digital Cultures (Los Angeles: SAGE, 2018).
Beer, David. â€œThe Social Power of Algorithms.â€ Information, Communication & Society 20, no.1 (2017): 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1216147.
Bennett, Jana M. Aquinas on the Web? Doing Theology in an Internet Age. New York: T & T Clark, 2012.
Bollmer, Grant D. Theorizing Digital Cultures. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2018.
Brasher, Brenda E. Give Me That Online Religion. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc., 2001.
Christian Dating. â€œHave Faith in Love.â€ EliteSingles, 2019. www.elitesingles.co.za/christian-dating (Accessed on 30 September 2019).
Christian Match. â€œWhy Choose Christian Match for Christian Dating.â€ 2018. www.christianmatch.co.za (Accessed on 30 September 2019).
CWed. â€œWhere Christian Singles Meet.â€ South Africaâ€™s Marriage Minded Christian Dating Service, 2018. www.cwed.co.za (Accessed on 30 September 2019).
Cobb, Camille and Tadayoshi Kohno, â€œHow Public is My Private Life? Privacy in Online Dating.â€ Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on World Wide Web (2017): 1231-40.
Crook, Jordan, â€œDating App Once Uses Your Heart Rate To Help You Find Love.â€ TechCrunch, 2016. http://social.techcrunch.com/2016/01/14/dating-app-once-uses-your-heart-rate-to-help-you-find-love/ (Accessed on 24 September 2019).
Davis, Ernest. â€œAlgorithms and Everyday Life.â€ Artificial Intelligence 239 (2016): 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.artint.2016.06.006.
Dormehl, Luke. The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems â€“ and Create More. New York: TarcherPerigee, 2015.
eHarmony Staff. â€œeHarmony Religion Settings: The How-To Manual.â€ Love & Hamony, 2019. https://www.eharmony.com/dating-
advice/using-eharmony/eharmony-religion-settings-the-how-to-manual/ (Accessed on 30 September 2019).
Ellingson, Stephen and M. Christian Green. Religion and Sexuality in Cross-Cultural Perspective. London, New York: Routledge, 2014.
Ellington, Scott A. â€œHistory, Story, and Testimony: Locating Truth in a Pentecostal Hermeneutic.â€ Pneuma 23, no.1 (2001): 245-63.
Erickson, Jeff. Algorithms. Independently published, 2019. http://jeffe.cs.illinois.edu/teaching/algorithms/.
Erwig, Martin. Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2017.
Finkel, Eli J., Paul W. Eastwick, Benjamin R. Karney, Harry T. Reis and Susan Sprecher. â€œOnline Dating: A Critical Analysis from the Perspective of Psychological Science.â€ Psychological Science in the Public Interest 13, no.1 (2012): 3-66.
Hall, Jeffrey A., Namkee Park, Hayeon Song and Michael J. Cody. â€œStrategic Misrepresentation in Online Dating: The Effects of Gender, Self-Monitoring, and Personality Traits.â€ Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 27, no.1 (2010): 117-35.
Hancock, Jeffrey T., Catalina L. Toma and Nicole Ellison. â€œThe Truth about Lying in Online Dating Profiles.â€ In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 449-52. San JosÃ©: ACM, 2007.
Harari, Yuval N. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. New York: HarperCollins, 2016.
Horozo. â€œCreate Serious Relationship.â€ Horozo.com, 2019. https://www.horozo.com/ (Accessed on 2 September 2019).
Kitchin, Rob. â€œThinking Critically about and Researching Algorithms.â€ Information, Communication & Society 20, no.1 (2017): 14-29. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1154087.
Knapton, Sarah. â€œSecret of eHarmony Algorithm Is Revealed....â€ The Telegraph, 2017. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/05/14/secret-eharmony-algorithm-ignoring-wishes-picky-daters/ (Accessed on 2 September 2019).
Markowitz, Dale. â€œThe Future of Online Dating Is Unsexy and Brutally Effective.â€ Gizmodo, 2017. https://gizmodo.com/the-future-of-online-dating-is-unsexy-and-brutally-effe-1819781116 (Accessed on 19 September 2019).
McGuire, Meredith B. â€œTestimony as a Commitment Mechanism in Catholic Pentecostal Prayer Groups.â€ Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 16, no.2 (1977): 165-8.
Neyland, Daniel. The Everyday Life of an Algorithm. Cham: Springer, 2019.
Niche Dating Sites Reviews. â€œDating sites that fit your needs.â€ DatingScout.com, 2019. www.datingscout.com/niche-dating (Accessed on 30 September 2019).
OkCupid. â€œThe Big Lies People Tell in Online Dating.â€ The Blog, OkCupid, 2010. https://theblog.okcupid.com/the-big-lies-people-tell-in-online-dating-a9e3990d6ae2 (Accessed on 12 November 2018).
OkCupid. â€œRace and Attraction, 2009-2014.â€ The Blog, OkCupid, 2014. https://theblog.okcupid.com/race-and-attraction-2009-2014-107dcbb4f060 (Accessed on 12 November 2018).
OkCupid. â€œThe Case For An Older Woman.â€ The Blog, OkCupid, 2019. https://theblog.okcupid.com/the-case-for-an-older-woman-99d8cabacdf5 (Accessed on 12 November 2018).
Pardes, Ariel, â€œThis Dating App Exposes the Monstrous Bias of Algorithms.â€ Wired, 2019. https://www.wired.com/story/monster-match-dating-app/ (Accessed on 24 September 2019).
Religion. â€œOnline Dating Gets Religion: Spiritual Profile Crucial To Many Seeking Romance.â€ HuffPost, 2012.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/religious-romance-require_n_1270558 (Accessed on 30 September 2019.
Rochadiat, Annisa M.P., Stephanie T. Tong and Julie M. Novak. â€œOnline Dating and Courtship among Muslim American Women: Negotiating Technology, Religious Identity, and Culture.â€ New Media & Society 20, no.4 (2018): 1618-39.
Ross, Kenneth R., J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu and Todd M. Johnson (eds.), Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017).
Seaver, Nick. â€œAlgorithms as Culture: Some Tactics for the Ethnography of Algorithmic Systems.â€ Big Data & Society 4, no.2 (2017): n.p. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951717738104.
Tamale, Sylvia. â€œExploring the Contours of African Sexualities: Religion, Law and Power.â€ African Human Rights Law Journal 14, no.1 (2014): 150-77.
Tinder. â€œPowering TinderÂ® â€“ The Method Behind Our Matching.â€ Gotinder, 2019. https://blog.gotinder.com/powering-tinder-r-the-method-behind-our-matching/ (Accessed on 30 September 2019.
Toma, Catalina L., Jeffrey T. Hancock and Nicole B. Ellison. â€œSeparating Fact from Fiction: An Examination of Deceptive Self-Presentation in Online Dating Profiles.â€ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 34, no.8 (2008): 1023-36.