Toxicity and hate speech proliferate on the internet, whether it’s on Twitter (TWTR), Facebook (FB), Youtube (GOOG, GOOGL), Snapchat (SNAP) — or even dating sites.
The female-centered dating site (BMBL), which went public on Thursday, has explicitly banned unsolicited and derogatory comments made about someone’s appearance, body shape, size, or health.
“We are not scared to take a stance for what we believe aligns with our values and our mission. Historically, we banned guns from our platform, and just two weeks ago, we banned any form of body shaming. This is not going to be tolerated on our platform,” Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd told Yahoo Finance Live on Thursday.
While Bumble has a zero tolerance policy for hate and toxicity, the company has also taken several public stances on what it deems harmful behavior. “This includes language that can be deemed fat-phobic, ableist, racist, colorist, homophobic or transphobic,” Bumble said in a Jan. 27 announcement, which said such behavior could result in a warning or ban for repeat offenses or particularly harmful comments.
Speaking to Yahoo Finance on Thursday, Herd said Bumble prioritizes holding users accountable for their behavior. “In the real world, there are guardrails, laws, consequences for your behavior. We’re not trying to, you know, censor people, but we are trying to tell you that if you want to behave poorly, you cannot do it here,” said Herd, who previously co-founded the dating site Tinder.
‘We look at the woman’s life cycle’
Founded in 2014 by Herd, Bumble now reaches 42 million monthly active users across 150 countries. Bumble’s key differentiator is that women have to make the first move in heterosexual matches.
Bumble currently has offerings Bizz and BFF, intended for users to meet their next business partner or best friend. Herd’s vision of expanding Bumble both vertically and horizontally reflects her ambitions to grow up with women who may have first joined the app to find a boyfriend or girlfriend.
“We look at the woman’s life cycle or the person’s relationship journey. When you think about all of the different touch points you have in your life that are really a derivative of your relationships, whether that’s the quest for love or once you find love, how you embark on the next chapter — engagement, marriage, fertility, everything thereafter that comes with those journeys,” she told Yahoo Finance.
Herd has a personal mission to empower women and curb bad behavior, particularly online. She sued her former employer, Tinder, for sexual harassment, ultimately settling for an undisclosed amount.
And Herd, whose company is based in Austin, Texas, vocally supported a Texas law barring “cyberflashing,” or the sending of unsolicited lewd photos. House Bill 2789 went into effect on September 1, 2019, making the electronic transmission of sexually explicit material a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 if the person who received it did not give consent. Herd has said she wants to work with Congress to introduce similar legislation on a federal level.
Shares of Bumble closed 76% above its IPO price on its first two days as a publicly traded company.
Melody Hahm is Yahoo Finance’s West Coast correspondent, covering entrepreneurship, technology and culture. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm and on LinkedIn.
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