Dating app Bumble announces ban on photos featuring guns


Bumble is swiping left on guns.

On Monday, the dating app announced plans to ban user-uploaded photos that contain firearms. The move comes amid a fervent national debate about the ubiquity of guns in the United States in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.

“We were founded with safety, respect and kindness in mind,” the company wrote in a tweet. “As mass shootings continue to devastate communities across the country, it’s time to state unequivocally that gun violence is not in line with our values, nor do these weapons belong on Bumble.”

In an interview with the New York Times, Bumble’s founder and chief executive, Whitney Herd, said the company plans to implement about 5,000 moderators around the world who will be tasked with trawling the app in search of gun-related content. Moderators will also be looking out for photos featuring other weapons, such as knives and other firearms, and will flag the images in a system similar to the way nudity and other sexually inappropriate images are screened.

“We just want to create a community where people feel at ease, where they do not feel threatened, and we just don’t see guns fitting into that equation,” Herd said.

The platform is the latest American company to take action on guns or sever ties with the National Rifle Association in response to a wave of activism over the past few weeks sparked by the teenage survivors of the Parkland shooting on Feb. 14.

In the weeks since the massacre, during which students and members of faculty were killed by a lone gunman with an assault rifle, brands like Delta Airlines and Enterprise Rent-a-Car have opted to terminate their NRA discount programs. Meanwhile, retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart and the grocery chain Kroger have all raised the minimum age for buying guns and ammunition at their stores from 18 to 21.

Herd did acknowledge that not all gun owners are inherently violent. She said that hobbyists who feature guns in photos of sport hunting or target practice will be able to appeal the process and have their photos restored, for example. She told the Times that the importance of the national conversation has prompted the company to take decisive action.

“This is not super black and white,” she said. “It’s a very tricky battle we’ve chosen to taken on, but I’d rather pursue this than just ignore it.”

Bumble, which is currently valued at over $1 billion, has an estimated 30 million users. It is unique among dating apps in that in heterosexual matches, women must kick off the conversation with their male matches.