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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.

People have always sought out casual sex — flings are key plot points in “Pride and Prejudice” (1813) and “The Fires of Autumn” (1942).

One sociologist found that college-age students are having no more sex today than they were in 1988.

Some commentators credit it with helping singles feel more secure and confident, while others blame it for “ruining romance,” “killing commitment” and contributing to the rise of the hook-up culture. While women generally prefer men around their own age, men are most attracted to 20-year-olds, period.

As the head of Ok Cupid, I worked diligently to untangle many of the misconceptions about finding love on the Internet. That’s why the Daily Mail calls straight women over 45 the “plankton generation” — at the bottom of the romantic food chain.

“Online services enable a downright Seinfeld-ian level of superficial nitpickiness,” one Fortune article lamented.

They’ve “given rise to a pick-and-choose shopping behavior that prioritizes looks more than ever before.” In reality, how someone looks in a couple of pictures is no indicator of whether you’ll be attracted to them.

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.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.Additionally, dating sites have taken steps to respond to, for example, now checks its users against the National Sex Offender Registry and deletes the profiles of anyone found on the list.

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