Yesterday, women-focused dating app Bumble made the executive decision to ban photos featuring guns in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting. As The New York Times reports, the Austin-based app will hire some 5000 moderators around the world to scour the new and existing profiles and remove gun-related content. However, Bumble will not censor photos featuring military or law enforcement officials wielding guns while in uniform.
“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,” said Whitney Wolfe Herd, chief executive of Bumble, to the Times. “This is not super black and white. It’s a very tricky battle we’ve chosen to take on, but I’d rather pursue this than just ignore it. This is not a politically driven decision, nor a decision driven by hatred of people’s personal beliefs or choices. Not everyone’s going to love us for it, but it’s the right thing to do.”
It goes without saying that Bumble’s decision raises issues relating to censorship. To get a read on the situation, we asked members of our community whether or not they’d swipe right on a potential suitor holding guns in their photos and whether or not they think it’s Bumble’s place to censor gun-related content in the first place. Read their responses below.
“It definitely decreases my likelihood [of swiping right]. In my mind, it’s not like, I’m politically outraged. It’s more like, Oh, this [person] is lame. I’m less attracted to him innately, rather than experiencing a conscious outrage about the fact that he has a photo with guns. I’d actually prefer to know that he’s a guy who’s into guns, because it tells me something about him, and I can make an informed decision. I think anything that hides something about who someone is takes dating apps backward, not forward—it’s almost enabling a lie.
Allowing people to put up photos of guns doesn’t mean you [Bumble] support guns, you’re just enabling users to know if someone is into guns or not and make an informed decision right off the bat.” — Clare, 27
“I wouldn’t swipe left on a guy because he has a gun, but simply because I am not into guys who hunt. I imagine that my outlook on guns is very different from those who grew up in different areas. I grew up in South Georgia, where everyone has a one. It actually made me feel safe at home knowing that we had a gun for protection. Living out in the woods, our house was broken into a lot, and my dad trained us on how to use one, but the gun was always locked up. I just have a different mindset, but I can totally see why others who didn’t grow up the way I did would feel differently.
I can totally understand why Bumble is censoring the gun photos, especially in light of the recent tragedies. But this censorship doesn’t allow gun-supporting Bumble users to accurately depict who they are, which can give off an inaccurate impression to others.” — Kayla, 28
“I would never swipe right. I have nothing personally against hunting, shooting ranges, or the like, but growing up in New York City, hunting is not something I’m exposed to. It’s not something I’m into or would be drawn to from first glance in a dating app. I guess it’s your right if you want to pose with a gun in a dating app photo, but I don’t see it as something attractive. I think it’s the website’s choice to censor based on their stance on the issues.” — Jade, 28