We've all met one — the married person who's moonlighting on Tinder or Hinge as a single looking for love. Just last week, a survey showed that roughly 40 percent of people using Tinder were already coupled up. (Tinder denies the figure is accurate.)
Hinge, a popular dating app that connects users to friends of their Facebook friends, had a similar problem. After digging through data, Hinge's researchers found that 1.6 percent of their users were married or engaged. Another 2 percent were in a relationship. So they're tackling the problem. The latest version of the Hinge app will pull self-reported data from Facebook into Hinge users' profiles. If your Hinge match has set his or her relationship status to “married,” “engaged,” or “in a relationship," that information will now show up to potential matches.
"While this seems low, we want to ensure Hinge remains a trusted place for finding relationships," the company wrote on its blog.
Of course, the new version of the app will only bust cheaters who happen to list their relationship statuses on Facebook. According to a recent interactive poll on BuzzFeed, 35 percent of people in relationships never share that information with Facebook.
In the future, Hinge could use predictive algorithms to get a better handle on its users' relationship statuses. A 2013 Facebook-run study showed that the company could figure out who the most important people in your life were — including your romantic partner — by analyzing the way you interacted with people through Facebook, an effect it called "dispersion." As I wrote in 2013:
This metric measures how well two people’s mutual friends are interconnected. It’s a departure from previous “embeddedness” models, which counts the number of mutual friends two people have in common. Dispersion hones in on people who span diverse parts of your life, but who don’t fit nicely into siloed, well-defined categories like coworkers, college classmates, and dance buddies….These friends may not rank highly on other measures of interaction — such as messages sent and received, profile viewing, or tags in photos — but they’re extremely important people in your life.
According to the Facebook study, "on married users in our sample, the friend who scores highest under this dispersion measure is the user’s spouse over 60% of the time." So be warned, Hinge cheaters — you may be able to hide by tweaking your Facebook account settings for now, but the algorithms are coming for you.
Daniela Hernandez is a senior writer at Fusion. She likes science, robots, pugs, and coffee.