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OkCupid adds climate change questions to help you filter out deniers, activists

Dating app OkCupid has rolled out a new set of questions that allow users to match only with people who share their beliefs about climate change. The company calls the addition a sign of the times. 

Global communications manager Michael Kaye told Digital Trends the decision to use the new filter was based on the app’s set of 4,500 questions daters can choose to answer to round out their profile and match with potential mates. OkCupid also said there has been a 240% increase in the use of terms like “climate change,” “environment,” “global warming,” “Greta Thunberg” and “recycle” in users’ profiles compared to just a few years ago. 

The app already had questions on topics like gun control, marriage equality, political leanings, incarceration, and voting, as well as geographically relevant ones on issues like Brexit for U.K. daters. It only follows suit that in an era of massive climate marches across the globe that climate change would make its way into algorithm-based dating. 

Kaye said there have been more than 4 million answers to the climate change questions in the app. He noted younger daters seem to be more “concerned about climate change.” Of those who responded to the questions, 82% of Gen Z is concerned about climate change compared to 84% of millennials and 76% of Gen X, according to Kaye. 

Broken down by the gender with which daters self-identify, the results are interesting given the ideological arguments taking place between the likes of teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and the many politicians who have berated and belittled her. At 88%, Gen Z women overwhelmingly care enough about climate change to consider it a dating criteria, while 74% of Gen X men felt the same. 

On our app you can filter out anybody who thinks climate change is Fake News.

— OkCupid (@okcupid) January 14, 2020

The app identifies potential mates through matching or complimentary answers to all the in-app questions. The higher the percentage of same or similar answers, the better a match as far as the algorithm is concerned.

For instance, if you work for a living on pushing for the Green New Deal or for a presidential candidate who wants to bring about reform in environmental policy, your match percentage with someone who works in the oil and gas sector and does not believe climate change exists would likely be quite low. So the questions act as a sort of filter to weed out climate deniers from those who believe in the science behind climate change. 

Currently, the questions do not measure the degree of concern or belief someone may have about climate change. Maybe someone recycles, but does not think marching or protesting is effective. The only way to determine if you are compatible with a person on both points is for both of you to answer two separate questions on those issues. Every question in the app has space to explain an answer if a dater chooses.

Screenshot of a question from the OKCupid app
Screenshot by Will Nicol

Kaye pointed out that “OkCupid is the only dating app where people can match based on shared disapproval of — or support for — Donald Trump, and many other important issues of today. Now that we’re in an election year, our daters can expect new questions throughout the campaign.” He confirmed there are questions on rising sea levels, fracking, banning oil drilling, Trump’s travel ban, and which presidential candidate a dater is likely to support. 

So, if speaking about the devastation to the Amazon rainforest, hurricanes in Puerto Rico, or the effects of an economy based on fossil fuels is your idea of a great date, you’re in luck. 

“Our daters can expect even more controversial, provocative questions to come,” Kaye said.

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Mythili Sampathkumar
Mythili is a freelance journalist based in New York. When not reporting about politics, foreign policy, entertainment, and…
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