Tinder’s New ‘Hot Or Not’ Algorithm Secretly Rates Users But Provides More Matches

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How does the new Tinder algorithm work? By putting your best photo first.

With over a billion “swipes” per day, Tinder has introduced a new algorithm to make it easier for a user’s profile to stand out among the masses.


Called Smart Photos, the algorithm works by automatically re-ordering a user’s pictures so that their “best” photo is seen first by other Tinder users. The feature can track which of the user’s photos get the most swipes, and then puts that photo first. This method also works by tracking a user’s swiping habits in order to optimize which pictures on other people’s profiles are shown first.

“We’re working our magic to make swiping more fun and more effective. Tinder’s Smart Photos feature is designed to bring you more matches, but it’s also a great way to see which way of presenting yourself is the most compelling to others,” the company said in its blog.

The new algorithm also has an internal feature where Tinder rates each user on a so-called ‘hot or not’ scale.

Referred to by the Tinder insiders as an “Elo score,” a term the chess world uses to rank player skill levels, Tinder’s rating system helps it parse its user base in order to facilitate better matches. Using the system, Tinder could, say, surface more potential dates based on score compatibility. But to us, and likely most Tinder users, it’s hard not to perceive the rating as a definitive scoring of our attractiveness, a supercharged Hot or Not-style algorithm culled from thousands and thousands of signals.

Should Tinder make your score available to you? And if the company did, would you even want to know it?

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