Is Bumble’s Algorithm Filtering Ugly People?

Bumble Dating

The Disclaimer

My thoughts are from a software engineer’s perspective. I don’t have access to Bumble’s code so this is speculation but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize an apps behavior.

The Question

In case you’re unfamiliar with Bumble, it’s a dating app similar to Tinder. Pictures of potential matches are shown & you swipe right if you like them & may want to have sex or marry them OR swipe left if you want to send them to the dungeons.

The question at had as the title says is: Is Bumble’s Algorithm Filtering Ugly People?

Now I don’t think they’re filtering out the unattractive completely but there seems to be some strong sorting to show them DEAD last and DISPLAY hot people first.

There is a big clue that filtering based on people’s looks is going on with Bumble and it doesn’t take a software engineer to notice it. What do you look for? Simple. Try the app & ask yourself, do most of the candidate look attractive initially to you and then later on, less so. Compare that to random matches on a site like OkCupid. (At least they have an option you need to choose to filter by attractiveness)

The Problem

If this is the case for Bumble & they’re discreetly filtering, it’s a problem. Not because it’s discrimination against the average / below-average looking or that it’s hypocritical for an app that claims to empower women – it’s a problem because it provided a “false” convenience.

You might think it’s convenient that the attractive folks are shown upfront but that’s really false because what ends up happening is everyone sees them too and so those cute profiles are flooded with matches and are less likely to respond to you. That’s bad, sad & frustrating.

Guys are used to the rejection and some unfortunately will indirectly end up with “trigger happy swipe right thumbs”. Swiping right on almost every pic to make it a numbers game in their favor & end up responding to few women that match with them. These guys respond to one’s they actually are attracted to & ignore the excess matches resulting from their happy thumb tic.

Women who aren’t used to as much rejection as guys get all bummed out when they message a super hot guy that showed up early and don’t get responses. Why, most likely, he got lots of matches too due to the sorting algorithm showing his profile to tons of women. And the more women that see him, the more that will swipe right on him.  This applies vice versa / women’s profiles.

A Self-fulfilling prophecy. The rich get richer.

The Solution

Most likely what Bumble’s doing is showing you candidates first that many people swiped right on and organically it will likely be due to them being attractive to the public.

So the solution would be to simply not do this.

While it might seem less exciting not all the initial pics look like models, it’ll be more realistic & the response rate for both attractive & average folks will normalize.

Dating is hard enough. Don’t play games Bumble!

The Last Word

It’s already a challenge to find intellectual attractiveness as well as physical so there’s no need for an app that is mainly focused on the physical to inject algorithm features the heighten the shallowness of it.

Let me know your thoughts on this matter and/or your experience w/ Bumble.


The podcast whyohwhy interviewed me on this topic. I’m in episode two! Turns out, my theory wasn’t crazy after all!

The Author

I help people with no experience become software engineers quickly. Programmers usually start off with salary’s 100k or more.

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