Attraction behind “Beauty”: Revealing Gay Men’s Self-Presentation on a Dating App with Computer Vision | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 5, Issue 1
  • E-ISSN: 2665-9085


Profile photos, which are fundamental constructs of online self-presentation, are crucial to building successful online relationships. The visual cues embodied in profile photos are factors that help initiate socialization on visual-based gay dating platforms. This study applies app crawler techniques to collect publicly disclosed profile photos from Finka, a Chinese gay men’s dating app, and uses computer vision artificial intelligence applications to analyze the visual cues from the photos. The results show that appealing faces are relevant factors of user popularity, seemingly confirming the existence of the gay male beauty myth in the dating community. Photos that expose bodies are also popular, although most profile photos have low body visibility, which may be rooted in gay men’s culture in China. Extending existing research, we incorporate the background scene as another theoretical dimension of visual cues. Interestingly, we find an ambiance effect in profile photos—showing background scenes can serve as a self-presentation tactic that potentially influences users’ popularity. In particular, private scenes (e.g., locker room and bedroom scenes) can arouse more desire for further interaction with the presenter.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): computational methods; computer vision; Finka; gay; online dating; self-presentation; visual cues
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