Bumble announced Monday that they would be banning pictures of guns from their dating app.
"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," they wrote in a statement on their blog.
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. https://t.co/fC4rPlGJ8y pic.twitter.com/Qmy7zLatRP— Bumble (@bumble) March 5, 2018
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This excludes military or law enforcement personale — who are allowed to post pictures of themselves with guns while in uniform — and it does not apply to images on users’ Instagram feeds that can be integrated into Bumble profiles, reported The New York Times.
The app’s founder, Whitney Wolfe Herd, told the publication that Bumble will be policed by about 5,000 moderators from around the world who will be removing gun-related content — both new and existing.
"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 said.
Online dating coach Laurie Davis told The Washington Post in October 2017 that, whether you’re male or female, posting a photo of yourself with a gun "is a polarizing experience for people. It’s a very aggressive photo for a platform where the aim is for you to find love." She noted that there's a difference between owning a gun and showcasing your love of them on a dating profile.
Herd acknowledged the fact that most gun owners posting photos on Bumble appear as hobbyists and do not promote gun violence.
"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. … Not everyone’s going to love us for it, but it’s the right thing to do."
I understand the calls for stricter gun control, but demonizing law-abiding people who enjoy shooting for hobby or sport deligitimizes reasonable voices demanding action. https://t.co/GByEVdWxDP— Natalie Johnson (@nataliejohnsonn) March 6, 2018
Next let's ban photos of people with dogs because some people are allergic. https://t.co/S2wI6Koz8I— Brittany Rubinstein (@BrittRubinstein) March 6, 2018
I may not ever find a match, but I’m glad I’m contributing to a like minded company that sincerely cares about public safety and the overall well being of it’s community. I hope other dating apps follow suit.— WilliamSpeaksHere (@WEMwanders) March 6, 2018
Bumble is also making a $100,000 donation to the March For Our Lives initiative created by the Parkland survivors. "We stand with them, and join them in working towards a non-violent future," the company wrote.
What about other dating apps/sites?
Both Tinder and OKCupid sent Metro statements condemning "violent" images but did not clarify whether hobbyists are permitted to post non-violent photos of guns on their platforms.
Head of Brand at Tinder, Rosette Pambakian, said, "Tinder has always been staunchly opposed to any images and behavior that could make users feel unsafe on the platform, including images of weapons that could be perceived as violent or threatening, and these are strictly forbidden. Our robust community management team is diligent in making sure inappropriate images are removed promptly. We commend any company that is committed to keeping their users safe."
A spokesperson from OKCupid told Metro that they ban "any photo that contains any violent or disturbing imagery, which a violent gun photo would absolutely fall under that umbrella."
OKCupid does ask users their opinion on gun control when building a dating profile. They’ve received 12 million responses to this question since 2005, and of those, "74 percent of our users think that our country would be less safe if more people owned guns."
"Frankly, we feel this is a better indicator of who a person is versus hiding the fact that people own guns," the spokesperson said.
There are non-Bumble dating sites for gun owners to post freely
Sites specifically for gun owners looking to find love do in fact exist. One, Concealed Carry Match, launched in August 2016.
"The right to own and carry a concealed weapon as a responsible gun owner does not need to interfere with finding an individual who shares some of your core values," the website reads. "We help take the guesswork out of finding individuals who complement your lifestyle, whether you own a gun or just believe in this Second Amendment right."
"Unlike other dating sites, initially you don’t know whether or not your potential partner is accepting of gun ownership," Chief Operating Officer Molly Lund told the NRA publication America’s 1st Freedom. "Concealed Carry Match allows members to instantly bypass that mystery. It makes for a relaxed start to any potential relationship."