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Dating site ad banned for claiming that its algorithms work better than fate
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Dating's a numbers game. But, one dating site's assertion that it applies a "scientifically-proven matching system" has resulted in the banning of an ad on the London Underground for making misleading claims.  SEE ALSO: The chilling reason everyone's sharing that 'New Yorker' story about dating Per the Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA) ruling, a billboard ad for dating website eHarmony featured the headline, "Step aside, fate. It's time science had a go at love."   "Imagine being able to stack the odds of finding lasting love entirely in your favour. eHarmony's scientifically proven matching system decodes the mystery of compatibility and chemistry so you don't have to," the ad continued.  A complaint was filed against the ad, claiming that it "was not possible to hold scientific proof about a dating system" and that the ad was "misleading."  eHarmony defended the ad, stating that the ad "did not make any specific claims" other than that their matching system was "scientific" and could consequently "provide an advantage" in finding compatible matches over a "chance-based system. eHarmony also argued that its site employs a "compatibility matching algorithm" to match its users. This algorithm, it claims, is based on data about "personality traits and key values" collected from more than 50,000 married couples in 23 different countries.  "They said the algorithm was based on scientific theories in the relationship literature of assortative mating," states the ASA's report.  The ASA banned the ad on the grounds that consumers might infer from the claim about a "scientifically proven matching system" meant that "scientific studies had demonstrated" that the website offered users a better odds at finding love than people who don''t use the site.  "Because the evidence provided by eHarmony did not demonstrate that their matching system offered users a significantly greater chance of finding lasting love than what could be achieved if they didn't use the service, we concluded that the claim "scientifically proven matching system" was misleading," concludes the report.  eharmony UK's managing director Romain Bertrand said that eHarmony was "conceived on the premise that science and research" could be used to help people find love. "For over 17 years, eharmony has been matching singles into high-quality, long-lasting relationships based upon sophisticated matching standards designed by PhD psychologists," said Bertrand.  Romain added that eHarmony "respectfully disagree[s]" with the ASA's ruling, but will work with them to make sure its advertising is "as clear as possible."  Maybe it's not quite time for fate to step aside.  WATCH: These are some of the weirdest dating apps of 2017 read more
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