As more and more relationships begin online, dating and hookup apps should discourage discrimination by offering users categories other than race and ethnicity to describe themselves, posting inclusive community messages, and writing algorithms that don’t discriminate, the authors said. Taft, a research coordinator at Cornell Tech, and Solon Barocas and Karen Levy, assistant professors of information science. Although partner preferences are extremely personal, the authors argue that culture shapes our preferences, and dating apps influence our decisions. Fifteen percent of Americans report using dating sites, and some research estimates that a third of marriages – and 60 percent of same-sex relationships – started online. Tinder and Grindr have tens of millions of users, and Tinder says it has facilitated 20 billion connections since its launch. Research shows racial inequities in online dating are widespread. For example, black men and women are 10 times more likely to message white people than white people are to message black people. Letting users search, sort and filter potential partners by race not only allows people to easily act on discriminatory preferences, it stops them from connecting with partners they may not have realized they’d like. Users who get messages from people of other races are more likely to engage in interracial exchanges than they would have otherwise.
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