In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, Bumble is joining the growing number of companies that are taking a stand against gun violence. Starting this month, the dating app has banned profile photos featuring guns and other deadly weapons, and has established a team of 5000 moderators to remove any images that do not comply.
Bumble announced the ban in a statement posted to Instagram.
“We were founded with safety, respect and kindness in mind. 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,” reads the caption.
In an interview with the New York Times, Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd said the no-guns policy is the latest move in a larger strategy to make the app a “kinder, more accountable” space.
“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,” she explained.
There are notable exceptions to the ban. Bumble will not censor images that appear in users’ Instagram feeds, which can be linked to Bumble profiles. The company will also allow users in the military or law enforcement to post photos of themselves carrying firearms provided they are in uniform. Other users, such as competitive sport shooters, can appeal to have their photos restored.
In the future, Bumble intends to remove the mention of guns from written content as well.
“This is not super black and white,” Herd added. “It’s a very tricky battle we’ve chosen to take on, but I’d rather pursue this than just ignore it.”
Responses to Bumble’s announcements have been predictably mixed. Herd told Time that she has received an outpouring of support for the decision as well as concerns and “a lot of awful threats.” She is determined to stand by the decision, which she says is not about politics but about human ethics and commitment to company values.
"This move shouldn't be seen as the startup taking a hard stance against (or for) guns or gun owners – rather it's the dating app taking a hard stance against normalizing violence on their platform," she told TechCrunch.
In addition to the new policy, Bumble is making a $100,000 donation to March For Our Lives, an initiative created by, inspired by, and led by students to end the epidemic of mass school shootings in the United States. A nationwide protest against gun violence, including a march on Washington D.C., is planned for later this month.
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