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Bumble removes political filter amid search for Capitol rioters on the app

Mashable logo Mashable 1/14/2021 Anna Iovine
graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message: Bumble removes political filter amid search for Capitol rioters on the app © Provided by Mashable Bumble removes political filter amid search for Capitol rioters on the app

Shortly after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol last week, the hunt was on to find those who participated. It wasn't that difficult, as these insurrectionists refused to wear masks in the middle of a pandemic, even if it meant being filmed breaking the law (or being livestreamed by one of their own).

While the FBI seemingly failed to see the Capitol riot coming, they have set up a tip line for anyone who had information about participants. This led to people scouring the internet in attempt to identity these domestic terrorists.

Scouring dating apps, even.

On January 7, the day after the riot, Foreign Policy for America NextGen Initiative Co-Chair Alia Awadallah noticed an uptick of MAGA-lovers on dating apps.

"There are DOZENS of men on DC dating apps right now who were clearly here for the insurrection attempt yesterday," Awadallah tweeted. "Some say it directly, others are obvious from MAGA clothing, location tags, etc."

Immigration attorney Allison Norris replied to Awadallah's tweet, saying a friend-of-a-friend changed her political affiliation on Bumble to conservative in order to find potential rioters and alert the FBI:

"She's matching with MAGA bros and they’re bragging and sending her pics and videos of them in the Capitol," said Norris. "She's sending them to the FBI." 

Norris's tweet went viral and inspired others to do the same. Now, Bumble is temporary removing its political filter.

In a statement, a Bumble spokesperson told Mashable:

Bumble prohibits content that encourages any illegal activity including terrorism and the incitement of violence. Additionally, the spreading of misinformation, such as the certified results of the U.S. Election, is prohibited.

On January 6, we immediately ensured that our hate speech scanning and protocols addressed the attack on the U.S. 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 we will take appropriate steps with law enforcement. 

Bumble's team has increased focus on the DC area and will monitor activity now through inauguration on January 20.

"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 spokesperson continued. "We have also temporarily removed our politics filter in the U.S. to prevent misuse and abuse."

Bumble didn't respond when asked how temporary this removal is. When news about the filter broke Norris tweeted, "It looks like I broke Bumble? But I guess Bumble was already broken if it’s so quick to protect terrorists."

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