OkCupid begins enforcing real-name rules, insists it’s a good idea

Enlarge / OKCupid would rather you use real names for its dating service than use anonymous handles. But its open letter announcing the change didn’t address possible privacy ramifications. (credit: OkCupid)

Over the past year, online dating service OkCupid has shaken up a few of its core features, and the changes have all pushed the service far closer to resembling rival dating app Tinder. Thursday’s big change, however, sees the site borrowing a subtler Tinder “feature” that has long enraged users of other online platforms: a real-name policy, coming before year’s end.

“We all have real names,” the company’s open letter states while listing a variety of goofy-sounding handles that the unnamed author insists are taken from real dating accounts. “We know, this is tough to hear. It’s because, like the recent goodbye we said to AIM screen names, it’s time to keep up with the times. We want you, BigDaddyFlash916, to go by who you are, and not be hidden beneath another layer of mystique.”

The feature will only display first names, and OkCupid says no outside-service verification will be used to confirm that the name matches your actual identity. An OkCupid spokesperson tells Ars Technica that the only requirements are a two-letter minimum without numbers, symbols, or emojis and that it will operate a “banned word” list, whose contents it did not disclose.

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