When an MIT freshman set up a prank dating app to lure Harvard students, he had no idea he would later reshape it and turn it into a successful algorithm with great matchmaking results.
What are the details?
Liam Kronman shared with Insider that he created the "Harvard Marriage Pact” just to see how many students would actually sign up.
"There wasn't much thought to it. It just kind of came to me. It seemed very organic, just like pranking Harvard students as well as also getting to test my computer science skills by making a fake dating app," he said for the outlet.
"I just wanted to see if I could do it in an afternoon and see where things turned out. So, wasn't really thinking about how people would respond but was just hoping to have some fun and hopefully make some fun of Harvard students while at it,” Kronman added.
While he was curious about the way algorithms fuel dating sites, Kronman said he didn’t include any in the beginning. He simply created a form and waited to see how many people would sign up using it.
The site was circulated around campus until the middle of October. At that point, it was shut down, and another website called Marriage Pact and launched at Stanford expanded to cover 64 campuses.
"We tried to reach out, all kinds of different ways. We told them, 'Hey, we love the enthusiasm, but this is not okay,’” Liam J. McGregor, in charge of running the Marriage Pact, said for the Harvard Crimson.
On October 31 Kronman decided he wanted to get back in the game, so he launched an app named ExExEx. This time it was a website that included a real matchmaking algorithm.
He revealed that he and his partner, whose identity has not been disclosed, realized that the prank they played was “anti-climactic,” and many people who had filled in the form were worried it was a scam.
"It was just the idea that your dating preferences mirror your ex's dating preferences. So, the idea is that you'll probably find your ex's ex very compatible. I mean, it's not a guarantee, but it's an interesting concept," Kronman said.
He is hopeful that his idea can expand in the future since right now, the algorithm only works if both one person and their ex sign up for accounts on the website. He also pointed out that there is a chance to invite your ex anonymously to join the app.