Politics & Policy

Dating App Bans Photos of Guns

The point has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with preening.

The dating app “Bumble” has announced that it is banning all photos of guns from its platforms in the name of “safety.”

According to a statement from the company, Bumble began monitoring all new and old accounts “for the presence of guns” on Monday. It is also encouraging users to report any gun photos if they see them, with an exception only for “users in military or law enforcement in uniform.” The company’s founder, Whitney Wolfe Herd, told the New York Times that the new policy will also extend to knives.

“Online behavior can both mirror and predict how people treat each other in the real world,” the statement reads. “Bumble has a responsibility to our users and a larger goal to encourage accountability offline.”

“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,” it continues.

First of all, Bumble is absolutely right that online behavior can predict real-life behavior. For example: Someone who shares a photo of himself holding a gun online very well may use it for hunting, target practice, or another completely harmless activity in real life. It’s the same with a knife; someone pictured with a knife on the Internet might use that exact same knife to go cut up a bunch of vegetables and make soup!

In case you can’t tell, I think this policy is completely absurd. Herd told the Times that competitive shooters could apply to have removed photos restored, but I honestly think that banning any of them in the first place is stupid, unnecessary, and un-American. Not only is there nothing wrong with the simple act of holding a gun, but it’s also one of our basic Constitutional rights — and there should be absolutely no shame in exercising it.

Not only is there nothing wrong with the simple act of holding a gun, but it’s also one of our basic Constitutional rights — and there should be absolutely no shame in exercising it.

Now, Herd may insist that the decision was not “politically driven,” “nor a decision driven by hatred of people’s personal beliefs or choices,” but the people who are proud to keep guns peacefully might feel differently. After all, some people do have the belief that there is nothing wrong with holding a gun, going hunting, going shooting, or celebrating the fact that we have Second Amendment rights. Yes, many are even proud of it, and do want to share related photos. By banning gun photos in the name of “safety,” Herd is telling these people that what they are proud of is not only shameful, but also dangerous. If that’s not displaying a “hatred” of a belief or choice, then I’m not sure what is.

Bumble is a private company, and can do what it wants, but demonizing millions of law-abiding gun owners isn’t doing anything to keep anyone any safer. In fact, I’d bet Herd knows that. I’ll bet she knows she isn’t actually going to save any lives with this policy, because “safety” isn’t really what this policy is about. It’s about virtue-signaling. It’s about getting kudos from the anti-gun crowd — and, regardless of Herd’s claims, it absolutely is political. After all, the idea that a gun in itself is a harmful force is one that’s maintained by a specific political sect rather than by logical reasoning.

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