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The controlled hush around Raya points to a paradox of internet culture: The more everyone strives for digital fame, the more those who achieve it search for ways to escape.

Minimal and slightly retro, Raya’s design insulates participants from the torrent of likes and shares that enabled their admission.

Most had Instagram follower counts starting in the low thousands, or else were young and very, applicants are evaluated by an algorithm, which considers “overall Instagram influence, who recommended the applicant, and how many active Raya members follow the applicant on Instagram,” as well as a committee’s vote.

, supposedly to help prominent members looking for dates distinguish themselves from fake accounts.

But because we’d both been accepted to Raya, we could be chatting in just a few clicks, if we both tapped the heart on each other’s profiles.calls itself “an exclusive dating and networking platform for people in creative industries.” I’ve also heard it called “Illuminati Tinder.” Members are admitted by a secretive, anonymous committee, based in part on their Instagram presence.

It was cute, in a weird-text-from-your-little-brother’s-friend kind of way.However, many community members with small Instagram followings seem to contradict this theory and the admittance algorithm remains a mystery.It costs /month (in US dollars) to be a member of Raya.Raya isn’t the first online dating service to try to harness celebrity and status to cultivate an image of exclusivity — its strategy, however, seems shrewder than most.The League, another private dating app, launched last year amid widespread media coverage and .1 million in seed money, and has attracted that’s elite by some standards but blandly corporate by others. Since it launched in March, it has stayed totally out of the press.

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