OKCupid stock art of beakers, love potion

Illustration via Max Fleishman

OkCupid says people have to use their real names—and then changes its mind

Turns out, people like the whole username thing.


Christina Bonnington


Posted on Jan 3, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 6:11 am CDT

OKCupid has backtracked on a recent, unpopular policy change. In late December, the dating site announced that they’d be doing away with usernames, instead requesting customers use their real names on the app. However, a recent company statement explains that you can still use some form of a username if you so choose.

“Like the recent goodbye we said to AIM screen names, it’s time to keep up with the times,” OKCupid first announced in a blog post on Dec. 21. “We want you, BigDaddyFlash916, to go by who you are, and not be hidden beneath another layer of mystique.”

While the company acknowledged that for some, usernames were a great expression of personality, for others, “they are a pain to come up with and a pain to remember.” (In reality, using real names, as opposed to usernames, is what newer dating app competitors like Bumble and Tinder already do.)

However, as it turns out users were not OK with the change. In the App Store, OKCupid was flooded with one-star reviews—a combination of those protesting the name policy change, and those who just didn’t like the app’s latest update.

“Stop with the patronizing, unfunny blog posts defending your needless changes,” YouSuckOKC wrote in a comment to OKCupid’s blog post. “They aren’t funny, they’re annoying, and they insult your users.” Other users pointed out that those who don’t want to be stalked will close their accounts, as well as those who may be kinky, queer, or in open relationships, but want discretion.

The company has since backtracked on its original stance. In a statement to Salon, it clarified its real name policy:

We have stated that in order to qualify as a name it just has to be two letters minimum, no numbers or symbols … It’s important to clarify that this does not need to be your real/legal name, it can be any name that you want someone to call you.

So, while OKCupid has done away with usernames, per se, unlike apps like Facebook, it will not be monitoring users to ensure their listed names are their true, legal names. You can still use some sort of username, whether that be a nickname or a creative moniker emblematic of your personality—as long as it doesn’t include symbols or numbers.

The clarification may be too little too late, as some users seem to have already abandoned the dating app. However, it should assuage at least some users who want to use OKCupid, but still want to maintain some level of anonymity in their profile.

H/T Salon

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*First Published: Jan 3, 2018, 10:30 am CST