Bumble pulls political filters after vigilantes use it to bait insurrectionists

Bumble defends the move, saying that it wanted to prevent "misuse." But some users say that the dating app is "protecting" right-wing insurrectionists.


Bad news for Bumble users trying to use the app to bring MAGA rioters to justice. Bumble has suspended its political filter option for the time being, Business Insider reports.

As various tech platforms — Parler, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and others — contend with the presence of users who may or may not have supported the idea of carrying out insurrectionist riots at the Capitol on January 6, some online dating apps have had to handle their own share of the mess, too.

Shortly after right-wing rioters stormed Congress, resulting in at least five deaths, some Bumble users used the app's political filters feature to their advantage to spot conservatives bragging about rioting on that specific day. After spotting the boasting ones, they would send their information to law enforcement authorities, assisting in official searches for potential criminals. Many supported the idea but Bumble, however, worried about its apparent "misuse."

"It definitely tells me @bumble is protecting insurrectionists," one tweeted, "which is a gross look."

What Bumble says — In response to growing accusations that the app is shielding potential criminals from meeting legal consequences, Bumble has attempted to calm onlookers. In a tweeted statement, the company officially says:

We've temporarily removed our politics filter to prevent misuse. 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.

The company is also adamant in assuring critics that it is not interested in protecting criminal activity, as it says in a comment to Mashable that it "ensured that our hate speech scanning and protocols addressed the attack on the United States Capitol and began removing any insurrection-related content from our platform."

"If we see anything that would suggest someone has or is in the process of committing a potentially criminal act," it added, "we will take appropriate steps with law enforcement." Bumble also plans to monitor profiles and other relevant content that may point to potential violent activity during Inauguration week. Other companies like Airbnb are attempting to mitigate any possible unrest by blocking reservations in Washington, D.C., during that week.

What the suspension means for Bumble — By temporarily suspending political filters, Bumble has brought oppositional dating options — which are frequently hostile to each other — out of their specific lanes and mixed them up. And it's already causing disapproval among Bumble users, both left, center, and right. On top of that, some users truly did support flagging accounts that bragged about their (embarrassing) attempt to carry out an insurrection.

The entire move has ruffled many feathers, and it's most likely going to impact how people use the app. Already some have said that they have disabled the dating option and have turned to finding friends or business networking. Others might even leave the app altogether.