Popular dating app Bumble on Monday announced plans to ban images of firearms and other weapons in profile photos for its nearly 30 million users in the wake of last month's Parkland, Florida school shooting and recent calls for gun control.
"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," the dating app said in a released statement.
"In the past, when we’ve had an opportunity to make our platform safer, we’ve taken action, banning hate speech and inappropriate sexual content from the Bumble app," the statement continued. "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."
Bumble's founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd said there will be 5,000 moderators around the world scouring new and existing profiles to remove gun-related content. However, they will not be censoring images that appear in users’ Instagram feeds, which are linked to the Bumble profiles," the New York Times reported.
The new policy, which resembles how Bumble already handles nudity, fake photos, hate speech and other transgressions, will extend to dangerous weapons like knives as well as firearms, she said. Users with military or law enforcement backgrounds will be allowed to post photos of themselves carrying firearms 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," Ms. Herd said.
Ms. Herd started Bumble in 2014 to create a "kinder, more accountable" online space where women initiate conversations. The app’s user base has expanded to include a wide range of users, including gun control advocates as well as people who use firearms for recreation and hunting.
Herd said she understands most gun owners consider themselves to be hobbyists and don't endorse violence, conceding that in addition to the exception for military members, competitive sport shooters could appeal to have their photos restored.
"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 is joining several progressive gun-control groups in donating $100,000 to March For Our Lives, a planned demonstration organized by the survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School.