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Bumble bans body shaming: ‘Find something else to talk about’

Dating app Bumble has been known for setting its own standards for how people should behave on the internet — from banning shirtless and underwear mirror selfies to photos of guns.

Now, the company is making clear that there is no place for body shaming of any kind on its platform.

“Find something else about their profile to talk about. Or, if you’re not interested in someone, you can swipe left,” the company said in a blog post this week. “If you’re not sure if a message will come across as body shaming, a good rule of thumb is simply not to comment on another user’s body or health at all.”

Bumble updated its terms and conditions this week to explicitly list “physical appearance” among other discriminatory language it does not tolerate. The list also includes “race, colour, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity.”

The updated policy comes as Bumble looks to make its debut on Wall Street. The company filed paperwork earlier this month for an initial public offering. According to the filing, the Bumble dating empire counted 42.1 million monthly active users as of the end of September.

In the blog post this week, the company said body shaming may entail projecting an opinion of what a “good body” is in a bio on the platform, or critically commenting on someone’s body or health in a direct message to someone.

“Body shaming includes fat shaming, health shaming, criticizing skin or hair, thin shaming, unsolicited opinions, and mocking someone’s physical features,” the company said in the blog post.

As other tech platforms have found, however, setting a new policy is one thing, but enforcing it can be more challenging. The company said it uses automated safeguards to detect comments and images it prohibits, and that it will also rely on people reporting individuals for body shaming. Individuals will receive a warning and “repeated incidents or particularly harmful comments will result in being banned from the platform.”

The body shaming policy is just the latest way that Bumble and its founder Whitney Wolfe Herd have aimed to set the company apart as a female-friendly platform. The company once publicly slammed and blocked a misogynist user, and it has a policy where it flags lewd images sent through direct messages on its app.

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