Tinder would like its online dating community to know that gun photos are still allowed in profile photos — as long as they’re not depicted in a threatening or violent way.
This clarification on Tinder’s gun photo policy comes just one day after its chief competitor Bumble made a declaration to ban guns from user profile photos. Bumble explained the new policy to users through an in-app notification, blog post, and conversations with media outlets including Mashable.
Bumble says to ensure this new policy is followed, a team of 5,000 contractors will be actively moderating Bumble users’ profiles. There are exceptions for people in the military or in law enforcement if they are holding weapons while in uniforms as well as competitive sports shooters.
Tinder, on the other hand, has taken a much different approach. A company spokesperson reached out to Mashable on Tuesday morning with a statement attributed to Rosette Pambakian, Tinder’s head of brand:
“Tinder has always been staunchly opposed to any sort of violent, threatening or inappropriate images and behavior on our platform and we diligently work to ensure they are removed — this is not something new for us. In addition to our robust community management team, our millions of vigilant users in the nearly 200 countries in which we operate report these types of images to us via our in-app tools so that we can remove them and provide a comfortable and safe environment for everyone. We commend Bumble on reaching this decision today and helping us keep online dating safe for all users.”
Mashable responded to the spokesperson asking if that meant Tinder banned guns, because the statement provided was unclear. The spokesperson replied with a new statement attributable to Pambakian about 5 hours later:
“Tinder has always been staunchly opposed to any images and behavior that could make users feel unsafe on the platform, including images of weapons that could be perceived as violent or threatening, and these are strictly forbidden. Our robust community management team is diligent in making sure inappropriate images are removed promptly. We commend any company that is committed to keeping their users safe.”
The heavily edited, second statement removed several lines from the original including the phrase “this is not something new for us” and also removed more specifics on how users report inappropriate photos. The original statement implied that moderators respond to user’s individual complaints about photos, but was not clear if photos are always removed. The new statement also replaced “commend Bumble” with “commend any company.”
About three hours later, Pambakian told Mashable over the phone that “nothing has changed” at Tinder.
“Since Bumble’s gun ban nothing has changed. We are not banning guns. Our terms of service has clearly said we have a zero tolerance with anything offensive. We don’t have a blanket ban of guns,” she said in a phone interview.
Tinder’s current community guidelines speak to violent or graphic content, but there is nothing specific addressing guns and other dangerous weapons. The section reads:
“Any content that we deem disrespectful to others in the community may be removed, and the user banned, depending on its severity. With this in mind, please exercise restraint and respect for others in the community when posting hunting photos, as many users find images of dead animals disturbing.”
“If there’s a weapon or firearm used in a threatening or offending way, then yes, [we will remove it],” Pambakian said.
It was a strange and confusing back and forth with Tinder, which is all too common for company that doesn’t seem to know how to behave in relation to its chief competitor, Bumble.
Back in 2014, Herd sued Tinder, alleging that the company’s chief marketing officer Justin Mateen called her a “whore” and threatened to take away her cofounder status. The case was settled, and she later went on to launch Bumble.
Match Group, which owns dozens of dating apps including Tinder, has repeatedly tried to acquire Bumble. Recently, Match and Tinder executives have been speaking about allowing women to initiate conversations on the app.
Now, Tinder is apparently riding Bumble’s latest wave of good press and preaching that it is not anti-gun but also not for violence. Whether this gun-friendly policy is appreciated by the app’s users remains to be seen.