Dating app Bumble has restored its political filter on profiles in the U.S. after being accused of ‘protecting insurrectionists’ and ‘terrorist’ for removing the option on Thursday.
The company temporarily deactivated the filter after it emerged users were hunting down Capitol rioters and luring them into sending picture evidence that is then submitted to the FBI.
Bumble said it removed the filter to ‘prevent misuse’ but that it still condemned ‘illegal activity’.
Yet the company was forced to quickly reverse the decision on Friday after immediate backlash and calls for them to ban those who promoted their participance in the January 6 violence on their profiles.
Social media users on Thursday reported the removal of the political filter
Bumble users in D.C. reported seeing an influx of profiles of Trump supporters last week such as the one pictured above in which the man wore a shirt claiming Biden did not win the election
It came after Allison Norris revealed the practice of catfishing Trump rioters
‘On January 13, we took the action to temporarily remove our politics filter in an effort to prevent that kind of misuse and abuse while we took the steps necessary to ensure we had the proper moderation tools and protocols in place,’ a spokesperson told Fox News.
‘Having completed that process, the politics filter has been turned back on in the United States.’
The trend of catfishing the Trump mob emerged last week when dating app users in D.C. noted the high influx of conservative profiles, as thousands descended on the city for the Stop the Steal rally and then proceeded to storm the U.S. Capitol.
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser even called the rioters ‘audacious’ for heading to dating apps after the destruction they’d caused, according to The Lily.
Washington Post reporter John Hudson shared a screen capture from a friend on January 7 which showed a Trump loyalist promoting the unfounded claims that Trump won the election but was thwarted because of widespread voter fraud
The profile of Chris, 31, pictured him wearing a sweatshirt reading, ‘marked safe from believing Biden won’.
‘Here for America. Got alcohol and a hotel room. If you want to come talk about freedom or whatever,’ he wrote in his bio.
Twitter user Alia Awadallah also noted the change in D.C. profiles saying it was ‘funny but actually serious’.
‘There are DOZENS of men on DC dating apps right now who were clearly here for the insurrection attempt yesterday,’ she wrote.
‘Some say it directly, others are obvious from MAGA clothing, location tags, etc. Is that info useful at all for law enforcement?
‘I assume some used Tinder in DC and others just had apps open, so location updated automatically. None posted any incriminating evidence of illegal acts, but are police tracking this? Is it useful as a starting point?’
Bumble has claimed it did so only temporarily and because of ‘misuse’
Last Friday, a woman named Allison Norris responded to say she knew of people reporting the profiles to the FBI after tracking them down by changing their political preferences.
‘I know a friend of a friend who changed her preference on Bumble to Conservative. She’s matching with MAGA bros and they’re bragging and sending her pics and videos of them in the Capitol,’ Norris wrote. ‘She’s sending them to the FBI.’
Awadallah tweeted that she was ‘on hold with FBI and police’ as she tried to report the profiles.
‘No idea if this will end up being useful but I feel like there’s a good story there anyway, so everyone get on the apps and start screenshotting,’ she wrote.
‘It’s funny how obvious it is when people aren’t local. My app went from real estate agents, accountants, and contractors to…none of that.’
Twitter user Alia Awadallah revealed she had called thw FBI about some of the profiles
Awadallah also revealed that she had submitted the information to the FBI tip line which has been established to aid in the search for those involved in the violence that resulted in the deaths of five people.
Other users told how they were reporting the profiles to the app itself, while others criticized Bumble for not acting to remove them previously.
The calls for further action from the company heightened on Tuesday after a Bloomberg interview with rioter Brandon Fellows who claimed that his Bumble profile had been ‘blowing up’ since he added pictures from last week.
Fellows said he had ‘no regrets’ about breaking into the building and smoking marijuana in the office of a U.S. Senator.
‘Might want to do something about a domestic terrorist using your site,’ user @aznananc wrote to Bumble.
‘Hey @bumble you may want to consider the types of things your members are sharing – like participation in insurrection?’ added another named Marie, while Valerie Chicola wrote: ‘Hey @bumble , when are you going to ban these guys from your apps?’
Bumble was called to take action against the profiles after a Bloomberg interview with rioter Brandon Fellows on Tuesday who claimed that his Bumble profile had been ‘blowing up’ since he added pictures from last week. He said he had ‘no regrets’ about his part in the riot
A Twitter user named Bri shared a grab of her successful attempt to have a rioter banned
One user named Bri shared her success at having one profile removed.
‘I GOT THE CAPITOL KID BANNED FROM BUMBLE YALL FJDJSJSHJS,’ she tweeted, sharing a grab of her message from the app.
Emily Goodman, 29, told The Lily, that she reported profiles that read: ‘In DC for a few days. STOP THE STEAL.’
Another featured a man pictured was wearing an all-black T-shirt emblazoned with a white American flag who identified himself as a member of the far-right group the Proud Boys.
‘It’s scary,’ Goodman said. ‘These people came to D.C. and wreaked havoc on a U.S. building and don’t seem to show any kind of remorse or are proud about it.
‘It’s just … trying to protect my female friends, you know, let them know that these people are still in town.’
Bumble responded to users criticizing their lack of action claiming it was removing profiles
Bumble said it will remove ‘anyone who’s been confirmed as a participant in the attack on the Capitol’ from the app in reesponse to criticism shared on social media
The dating app claimed that the politicial filter is only temporarily removed
Yet despite these actions, Bumble faced further criticism Thursday over the decision to remove the political filter before it was eventually restored just a day later.
‘It looks like I broke Bumble?’ wrote Norris when she learned that her tweet had led to the filter removal. ‘But I guess Bumble was already broken if it’s so quick to protect terrorists.’
‘It definitely tells me @bumble is protecting insurrectionists, which is a gross look,’ tweeted Natasha Boyd.
‘We’ve temporarily removed our politics filter to prevent misuse,’ the company told Boyd.
‘However, please rest assured that we prohibit any content that promotes terrorism or racial hatred, and we’ve already removed any users that have been confirmed as participants in the attack of the US Capitol.’
‘Why did you take away political preferences? This benefits no one,’ wrote Maggie Lucio.
Bumble responded stating: ‘We’ve only temporarily removed our politics filter to prevent misuse. Don’t worry; it’ll be back soon!’
‘So, @bumble is gonna let its users promote their involvement in insurrection to get dates?’ argued user John Julitx.
‘Absolutely not!’ the app responded in a tweet.
‘Bumble prohibits content that encourages any illegal activity. We’ve taken action on accounts that have violated this policy,’ it added.
‘We are monitoring activity & will continue to remove any users that have been confirmed as participants in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.’
The app was accused of ‘protecting insurrectionists’ but said it was still taking action
‘Absolutey not!’ the app responded in answer to claims the profiles would remain
Bumble has not revealed when the political preference filter will return
Yet the app was still accused of ‘protecting terrorist and insurrectionists’
In an official statement, Bumble claimed that it acted immediately on January 6 to begin scanning profiles. It did not comment on whether it considered the search for rioters a misuse of the app.
‘We immediately ensured that our hate speech scanning and protocols addressed the attack on the US Capitol and began removing any insurrection-related content from our platform,’ a Bumble rep said Thursday.
‘If we see anything that would suggest someone has or is in the process of committing a potentially criminal act, we will take appropriate steps with law enforcement.’
Bumble said it is also looking ahead to next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and is ‘closely monitoring’ activity amid concerns about further violence.
‘Where our AI technology flags photos, hate symbols or text content that promotes the insurrection or related activities, those are removed, with repeated offenses or more extreme content resulting in a user being banned,’ the Bumble rep said.