Dating app Bumble bans images of guns from user profiles

The move to ban images of firearms and knives from profiles comes amid a backlash against the NRA after rash of mass shootings.

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Steven Musil
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Bumble dating app lest only women start converstation.

The Bumble app is banning images of firearms from users' profiles

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you're using Bumble to hunt for a new love of your life, you're going to have to do it without a gun in your profile.

The maker of the dating and networking app said Monday that it's moving to ban images of firearms from its nearly 30 million user profiles. Bumble joins a long list of companies seeking to distance themselves from the National Rifle Association amid growing calls for gun control after a rash of mass shootings.

"Online behavior can both mirror and predict how people treat each other in the real world," the Austin, Texas-based company said in a blog post. "Bumble has a responsibility to our users and a larger goal to encourage accountability offline."

Bumble launched in 2014 to be a "kinder, more accountable" online space where women initiate conversations.

Social and dating apps typically steer clear of the political controversies that embroil social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Services like Bumble, Tinder, OkCupid and Hey! Vina are all about users making connections, not taking stands.

Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd told The New York Times that the new policy is intended to keep things comfortable.

"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," she said.

The new policy will treat images of firearms and knives as akin to nudity, fake photos, hate speech and other transgressions. Users who are members of the military or law enforcement will be allowed to post images of themselves with firearms while in uniform.

The NRA, the nation's most powerful gun rights group, has repeatedly dismissed calls for greater control that arose after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead.  Meanwhile, a number of brands have responded to social media campaigns by announcing an end to special discounts for NRA members, including Delta Air Lines, Hertz and REI.

Retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods, L.L. Bean and Walmart have said they would raise the minimum age to purchase weapons and ammunition to 21. Dick's also said it would cease sales of assault-style weapons, echoing a move Walmart made 2015.

The NRA didn't respond to a request for comment.

Originally published March 5 at 4:47 p.m. PT.
Updated March 5 at 6:40 p.m. PT: Added Bumble blog statement.
Updated March 6 at 8:25 a.m. PT: Added background and a quote from Whitney Wolfe Herd.

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