In one extreme example of an online lie, Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o was tricked a few years ago into virtually dating a woman who never existed.
But while it’s tempting to shave off a couple of pounds or add a couple of inches, studies show that online dating profiles are, fundamentally, quite honest.
Men on the site tend to message women closer to their own age; very few men over 30 actually reach out to 20-year-old women.
And while it’s true that being older and single means you face a “thin” romantic market, both on the Web and off, the sheer scale of online dating mitigates this.
The Guardian warns that these sites have created a “throwaway dating culture.” This is silly.
But online dating isn’t especially vulnerable to our collective weakness for self-flattering fibs. In 2010, Boston’s “Craigslist killer” was charged with murdering a woman he had met online (he later committed suicide in jail).
In 2013, Mary Kay Beckman sued for million after a man she met on the site came to her Las Vegas home with a knife and an intent to kill.
But despite the occasional bad press, the numbers suggest that online dating is very safe.
Ok Cupid creates something like 30,000 first dates every day, and complaints about dangerous meetings are extremely rare.