So you’re scrolling through Bumble when you come across the profile of this seemingly normal, hot guy. You swipe right, and a little while later, you match. You’re excited! And because Bumble adheres to a ladies-first approach, you start thinking of how you’re going to make your move. After much deliberation, you send a cute one-liner, and to your horror, he responds with something rude. It can be anything. Maybe he sent an unsolicited dick pic. Maybe he was a misogynist pig. Whatever the case, there are ways to get him banned from Bumble so no other woman has to deal with this total jerk.
Alex Williamson el-Effendi, Bumble’s head of brand, and I go way back. You see, for the past year or so, I’ve been running a weekly column called “Boom, Ghosted,” where people share stories of the times they were ghosted. The couples featured in my column rarely started off as Bumble matches, but one time, they did.
This woman went on a Bumble date, and shortly after being ghosted by him, she realized he had changed his bio to “Pleeease don’t be fat in real life.” Shortly after publishing the upsetting story, I received an email from el-Effendi, who had come across the article and was hoping I could put her in touch with the woman who submitted it, so they could ban the guy from the app. That’s when I realized Bumble’s girl-power ethos isn’t just an act. It is genuinely passionate about creating an app that’s safe for women to use, and more than happy to ban a few (or more) jerks to make that happen.
Last week, I had the chance to sit down with el-Effendi, who is also one of Bumble’s first employees, to talk about the app’s commitment to maintaining a safe platform and keeping the it free of jerks.
In June, el-Effendi and her teammates heard about a misogynist guy named Connor on their app. He was having a pretty innocuous conversation with a female user at first, when the user asked him what he does for work. That’s when he freaked out. He called her “truly shameless and unintelligent” for asking what he does and proceeded to accuse her of trying to pry into his “earning potential.”
The Bumble team was disturbed by the conversation and decided they weren’t going to stand for it. There can be a lack of accountability when it comes to online dating, and they decided their app was going to be different in that respect. “People feel like they can hide behind screens and treat each other differently than they would if they were being held accountable for their actions, and that’s what we’ve tried to change at Bumble,” el-Effendi tells Elite Daily. “We try to actually hold people accountable for their actions and protect our users.”
PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THEY CAN HIDE BEHIND SCREENS AND TREAT EACH OTHER DIFFERENTLY THAN THEY WOULD IF THEY WERE BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND THAT’S WHAT WE’VE TRIED TO CHANGE AT BUMBLE.
el-Effendi was so upset about this misogynist guy on the app that she decided to not only ban him from the app, but also to write an open letter to the guy, along with including the screenshots, letting users know that Bumble isn’t cool with that sort of behavior.
“We banned him from the app, and I think it set a real precedent for Bumble in terms of what we would and wouldn’t stand for, and our community really rallied around it,” el-Effendi explains. “I think that our users began to understand what Bumble is trying to accomplish through that.”
This is how to get someone banned from Bumble.
Bumble relies heavily on its community when it comes to the banning process. It isn’t reading through every one of your conversations, so it’s really up to you to step it up and tap on that “report” button when you see something uncool.
“We’re not big brothery — we don’t read people’s conversations,” el-Effendi says. “We rely on our users. We have a block and report feature in the app where [users] can report [other users] on the app, or we have a lot of people who reach out [to us] via social, too.”
WE’RE NOT BIG BROTHERY — WE DON’T READ PEOPLE’S CONVERSATIONS. WE RELY ON OUR USERS. WE HAVE A BLOCK AND REPORT FEATURE IN THE APP WHERE [USERS] CAN REPORT [OTHER USERS] ON THE APP, OR WE HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO REACH OUT [TO US] VIA SOCIAL, TOO.
And don’t go thinking that just because Bumble is a girl-power app that they only block dudes. Female users are just as likely to be blocked, depending on how they’re conducting themselves. “We don’t discriminate men or women,” says el-Effendi. “We just ban people if they’re not being kind or respectful. Really, it is all dependent on the person.”
This is what will get you banned from Bumble.
“We are pretty heavy handed with blocking,” says el-Effendi. “It’s a choice that we’ve made to protect people and ensure that there’s a sense of trust and community on Bumble.”
So what constitutes such a threat to the Bumble community that it could potentially get you blocked? Well, there are some things that are guaranteed to get you banned from Bumble. The app explicitly bans hate speech, shirtless bathroom mirror selfies, unsolicited dick pics, and anything and everything misogynistic.
Outside of those surefire ways to get banned, Bumble has a pretty simple way of figuring out whether or not someone is going to be blocked.
Basically, the key to determining whether or not somebody is banned is, would we want to run the risk of them treating another user this way? And the odds are, if they’re going to treat one person that way, they’re going to treat others that way, and they’re not allowed on the app.
Another pro-tip to keep yourself from getting banned from the app? Don’t be rude to any employees of Bumble HQ, either. “If somebody is rude to our team, that, to us, is a clear sign that they shouldn’t be on Bumble,” says el-Effendi. “If you’re going to talk to people on our team in a rude way, we don’t need to even investigate. You’re for sure going to talk to people that way on our platform.”
And the team has no issue banning people if that means they’re upping the quality of their users. “We’d rather take bans and have people who want to talk that way and feel that way not be on Bumble and lose those users,” el-Effendi continues. “I’d rather them just not be on our app in general, and if that means that we have slower growth down the line because we’ve alienated people who are going to be rude to each other, that’s OK because our entire idea is rooted in respect and kindness.”
This is how to know if you’ve been banned from Bumble.
So what happens to someone once they’ve been blocked? el-Effendi breaks down the way a user will find out: “They can’t log in, and they get an email. Typically, it’s just a general email about being banned, and then, if they reach back out, we always take the time to inform them, which I think is really important to educate people.”
Personally, I love that Bumble provides solid reasoning for a ban when people reach back out to them. This means taking the time to report a jerk not only saves the rest of the Bumble community from having to deal with his behavior, but it also potentially serves as a learning experience for this person to better themselves.
And beware: Getting launched from one mode of the Bumble app means you’re banned from all modes of the app. “If somebody is reported in one mode of the app, whether it be Bizz, Bumble, or BFF, they’re not allowed on any of them,” el-Effendi explains. So if you mess with someone on Bumble, say goodbye to your chances of meeting your future mentor on Bizz.
This is how to conduct yourself like an upstanding member of the Bumble community.
Despite all of this talk of blocking and bans, Bumble prides itself on having “industry-low reports of harassment.” In el-Effendi’s own words, “We don’t see a lot of it.” And that’s likely because the Bumble team quickly effectively deal with any issues as they come up.
So who is the ideal Bumble user? “I think that our users are very forward-thinking, they’re very respectful, and they treat each other as equals,” says el-Effendi. And isn’t that the way it should always be?
Bumble really is a platform that tries to make all of its users feel safe, so as a member of their community, do your part! Don’t be shy about reporting users who make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. As el-Effendi said, if they’re treating you that way, odds are, they’re going to treat future users that way as well.