Listen up, online daters. One of your favorite online dating sites is making a big change. OkCupid is removing usernames in favor of real names. The update will begin with a test group first, rolling out to all users by the end of 2017.
So, what prompted the change? In a recent blog post, OkCupid said that “[real] names actually work best—better than usernames—when it comes connecting with people.” That means that all members will need to update their profiles with their real names. For those users who had really, um, expressive usernames (we’re looking at you DoritoPrincessXO), they added, “We hope that you can instead use your profile to give people an insight into your interests.”
In a statement to The Verge, the online dating site confirmed that a name qualifies as at least two letters, with no numbers, symbols, or emojis. There’s also a list of banned words. But there’s no rule about the name needing to be your legal one. While OkCupid will only ask for first names, there are still some daters that are not on board with the new policy. Some people just love the personality-packed usernames, while others worry that their unique first names will make them easier targets for stalking or harassing.
While dating apps like Tinder already require real first names, OkCupid is definitely different.
OkCupid profiles contain much more intimate information, including preferences about sex and politics. Some users just might not want to share those details about themselves publicly under their real names. And we respect that. OkCupid is trying to maintain that sense of anonymity, claiming they don’t ask for last names that and you don’t even have to use your full legal name. But still, some users are unswayed.
A flurry of users responded to the Tweet, expressing their concerns about privacy and safety.
Hopefully, OkCupid will figure out a way to make sure this change keeps everyone’s safety top of mind.