Bumble started as a dating app based on the innovative idea that women would always make the first move. The idea proved successful. Since its founding in 2014, the company has grown rapidly and is now worth more than $1 billion. The site has expanded beyond dating and now also helps its members find friends and jobs.
Recently, Bumble made headlines when its founder and chief executive, Whitney Wolfe Herd, banned guns from Bumble’s profile pictures. Herd decided to take this step after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 people and wounded 14 more. In an interview with Time magazine, Herd said, “We don’t want guns to be romanticized” on the Bumble site.
Providing a safe environment for Bumble’s users has always been an important goal of the company, going back to the time the site was first launched. Whitney Wolfe Herd believes that continuing to allow people to show guns in their profile pictures could make many of the site’s users feel unsafe, especially given the current climate where mass shootings are often in the news. “We … want to create a community where people feel at ease,” she told Time Magazine, “where they do not feel threatened.” She added that they “just don’t see guns fitting into that equation.”
When Whitney Wolfe Herd founded Bumble at the end of 2014, she wanted to try something new that would help empower women in dating and relationships. She observed that so many women were smart and successful in their careers, but the gender dynamics of dating had not caught up. The norm was still that men made the first move when it came to asking for a date, while women passively waited to be asked.
Bumble would reverse that. The site was set up so that only women could make the initial contact, placing the power to initiate relationships into their hands. The idea caught on, and both men and women flocked to join the site.
Bumble was never just an ordinary dating app. It was a site that changed the way men and women interacted online. Herd’s hope, she told the New York Times, was to “mitigate the abuse” she had experienced in her own relationships and observed in the relationships of her family and friends. To that end, creating an atmosphere that fostered kindness and respect was a key goal at Bumble from the beginning. Now Wolfe believes that the time has come to ban images of guns in order to continue providing that safe, welcoming atmosphere for the Bumble community.
Bumble’s team of 5,000 moderators from around the world are enforcing the ban. They are looking at new photos that are uploaded to the site as well as all profile photos that are already there. The new policy has also been included in the site’s terms and conditions.
Whitney Wolfe Herd was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. From a young age, she showed an affinity for both creating new businesses and fostering social change. When she was 19 years old and a student at Southern Methodist University, she started her first company, which made bamboo tote bags. The proceeds from the sales of the bags were used to help deal with the effects of the disastrous BP oil spill.
In 2012, when she was only 22 years old, Whitney Wolfe Herd became a co-founder of Tinder, the dating app that made “swiping left” and “swiping right” into household terms. She became vice president of marketing. In June 2104, she left the company and sued it for sexual harassment. She received a settlement reported to be $1 million and company stock.
Whitney Wolfe Herd founded Bumble shortly after leaving Tinder. Although the vast majority of new online dating sites fail, Bumble quickly became a success. Its focus on empowering women filled an important need in the dating site niche. With the ban on images of guns, Whitney Wolfe Herd has once again used innovative ideas to create a better, safer, and kinder atmosphere for starting healthy relationships.
Herd exudes integrity, taking actions that are based on her deepest values and beliefs. “As women leading a tech company, which in and of itself is so rare, we feel it’s our duty to do what we believe in,” she told Fortune. The ban on gun images is just the latest action Bumble and Herd have taken to help make the world a better and kinder place.