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Knowledge about how race governs partner selection has been predominantly studied in the United States, yet it is unclear whether these can be generalized to nations with different racial and immigration patterns. Using a large-scale sample of online daters in nine European countries, we engage in the first cross-national analysis of race-related partner preferences and examine the link between contextual factors and ethnic selectivity.

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S inakhone Keodara reached his breaking point last July. Loading up Grindrthe gay dating app that presents users with potential mates in close geographical proximity to them, the founder of a Los Angeles-based Asian television streaming service came across the profile of an elderly white man. He is now considering suing Grindr for racial discrimination.

For black and ethnic minority singletons, dipping a toe into the water of dating apps can involve subjecting yourself to racist abuse and crass intolerance. Seeing that all the time is grating; it affects your self-esteem. Style blogger Stephanie Yeboah faces the same struggles.

Racism is rife in society — and increasingly dating apps such as TinderGrindr and Bumble are key parts of our society. Where we once met people in dingy dancehalls and sticky-floored nightclubs, now millions of us look for partners on our phones.

Four in 10 adults in the UK say they have used dating apps. Globally, Tinder and Grindr — the two highest-profile apps — have tens of millions of users. Others are coming round to the same belief — albeit more slowly.

The app is also considering the removal of options that allow users to filter potential dates by race. More than one in eight admitted they included text on their profile indicating they themselves discriminated on the basis of race. Noble is uncertain about the efficacy of drawing up a list of forbidden words.

While Bumble and Grindr deny using image recognition-based algorithms to suggest partners visually similar to ones that users have already expressed an interest in, many users suspect that some apps do. Crucially, no app is likely to deliberately dumb down its algorithm to produce worse matches, even if it may help prevent racist behaviour.

Bumble hopes to change user behaviour by example. Zumwalt said Grindr had carefully discussed removing the ethnicity filter, but were hesitant to get rid of it. But to Keodara, the arguments against the decision are problematic. The Observer Apps.

Why is it OK for online daters to block whole ethnic groups? Dating apps throw up particular problems when it comes to preferences and race. Chris Stokel-Walker.

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