Dating Profile Inaccuracies Due to Self-Presentation

Follow Up to The Digital Age of Love

Throughout this week’s episode of The Digital Age of Love, one interviewee, Eli, mentioned how they displayed them-self through their Tinder profile: From humor to the seriousness of coming out. Although we were not able to go into more detail about how people self-present on dating apps, it’s an interesting thread to tug on. According to a 2016 research article, a substantial number of users answered, “somewhat agree” and “slightly agree” to questions that pertain to deceptive self-presentation, with this knowledge it might be inferred that deception on profiles is an inherent action by users (Ranzini & Lutz, 2016). Which begs the question as to what exactly would a dating app user misinform others about and what their motives behind this action of deception may be?

In our most recent survey, just under half of users who believed their profile wasn’t an accurate portrayal of themselves cited their physical appearance as the largest inaccuracy (McMahon, Neal & Strebe, 2018). There are six possible motives for the use of dating apps: sex, friendship, relationships, travel, self-validation, and entertainment, and yet despite these motivations’ deception is more impacted by self-esteem, educational level, and sexual orientation of a user showing that the need or want for the six motives have little impact on how users shape their profile (Ranzini & Lutz). Yet, these motives can still be considered when looking at other online dating options such as, Seeking Arrangements. Although on 7 users out of our 122 surveyed users mentioned that Seeking Arrangements was one of the dating services they utilized, 4 of 7 of those users identified that they often did not display an accurate dating profile (McMahon, Neal & Strebe).

In the Death, Sex and Money Podcast, “When ‘Daddy Dates’ Pay the Bills”, interviewee Lizzie who is an active Seeking Arrangements users mentions that she has lied about certain aspects of her profile such as her sexual history in order to conform to a more virginal ideal. Which may support the idea that some motives, such as money, may affect the ways in which a user may change their profile to attract certain people or in Lizzie’s case a mutually beneficial arrangement.


McMahon, Jade, Neal, Vivian, Strebe, Isabel. 2018. “The Digital Age of Love: Dating App Survey.”

Ranzini, Giulia and Christoph Lutz. 2016. “Love at First Swipe? Explaining Tinder Self-Presentation and Motives.” Mobile Media & Communication 5(1):80–101. Retrieved from:

Sale, Anna. 2018. “When ‘Daddy Dates’ Pay the Bills.” WNYC Studios. Retrieved from:

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