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The homepage for Veil@Penn, an anonymous matchmaking website for Penn students. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

A new student-developed dating app, Veil@Penn, launched on March 29 with a feature that anonymously matches Penn students.

Veil uses a machine learning algorithm to pair students based on the compatibility of both personality and physical preferences. The app incorporates “anonymized dating,” which means that students will be matched without seeing each other’s faces.

"Veil helps you find your most compatible match, in an anonymous environment that reveals your identity only when you've found the one," Veil's registration page reads.

Veil's matchmaking process is divided into two stages, according to the app's website. During the first stage, students complete a personality profile. Unlike other dating apps that require users to upload photos of themselves, Veil displays artificial intelligence-generated images for students to rate on attractiveness. Veil’s machine learning algorithm then generates matches considering both the user's personality profile and their chosen AI-generated images.

The second stage is split into a five-day process, with each day involving further filtering of responses to determine the best matches. Over the first three days, students write questions for their matches to answer and answer questions given by their matches. Users review their matches’ responses and assess compatibility. The process takes around five minutes per day, according to the Veil website.

At the end of the fifth day, the matches that have been consistently compatible can opt to reveal their identities. Both parties must consent in order for their identities to be revealed.

In a press release, Veil creators said that they implemented the anonymized nature of the matchmaking process to create a "judgment-free environment that promotes honesty." They added that the app does not generate any profit and has involved personal expenses totaling hundreds of dollars. 

The press release says that Veil does not use students' data for any purposes other than matchmaking.

"We also did our best to protect users’ data by utilizing 2 factor authentication, but highlight that users should use Veil at their own risk as despite our best efforts, no system can claim to be 100% foolproof," the press release said.

Multiple Penn students who spoke with The Daily Pennsylvanian expressed hesitation about participating in Veil's matchmaking process.

“I think it’s an interesting take on blind dating, but I don’t know if I would personally join,” College first year Celine Hong said.

Engineering first year Andy Wang compared the new app to Penn Marriage Pact, an algorithm-based matching service that arrived on campus in 2021. Penn Marriage Pact uses a series of questions to pair compatible students, who then have the choice to reach out to their match. In 2022, the DP reported that approximately 40% of the Penn undergraduate population filled out the Marriage Pact.

“I don’t trust [Veil] more than Penn Marriage Pact because Penn Marriage Pact has been a thing in the past, but this is like a new thing,” Wang said.

Engineering sophomore Kyulee Kim said that she likes that Veil factors both appearance and personality in a match — as opposed to the Marriage Pact questionnaire, which only considers personality.

“My friends...didn’t like the match because to a lot of people, superficial things matter,” Kim said.

In the press release, the creators emphasized that they built Veil as a passion project with the goal of introducing a new dating system at Penn.

"We did our best simply because we know how imperfect existing systems are, and how passionately many Penn students want an alternative that’s designed around longer-term relationships," they wrote. "And also honestly because we’re just a bunch of geeks that wanted to build something new and impactful."