After 26-year-old Brandon Fellows stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, he told Bloomberg News he had no regrets. Instead, he boasted that his Bumble profile was "blowing up." All the while, women were actively trying to locate the insurrectionists on dating apps. Bumble removed its political filter amid the chaos, only to reinstate it a day later after users complained. Politics is personal, and that's been true on dating apps for awhile -- but as the global health crisis collided with a heated election and an attempted coup, it shifted things even further and now politics on dating apps are thornier than ever.
A group of more than 30 democratic lawmakers led by Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) are calling on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to make substantive changes to their recommendation algorithms. In three separate letters addressed to the CEOs of those companies, the group makes a direct link to the January 6th US Capitol attack and the part those platforms played in radicalizing the individuals who took part in the uprising. "On Wednesday, January 6th the United States Capitol was attacked by a violent, insurrectionist mob radicalized in part in a digital echo chamber that your company designed, built and maintained," the letter addressed to Google and YouTube CEOs Sundar Pichai and Susan Wojcicki says. A letter from some Congress members to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki flexes research on how YouTube's algorithms have promoted conspiracy theories and political extremism. Citing the Capitol attacks, they request changes to its recommendations systems.
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Dating is about to get political again. After briefly disabling the feature, Bumble is reportedly allowing users to once again filter matches based on their political stance. This option was temporarily disabled following the riot at the U.S. Capitol "to prevent misuse," Bumble previously said.
As politicians play whack-a-mole with COVID-19 infection rates and try to balance the economic damage caused by lockdowns, stay-at-home orders have also impacted those out there in the dating scene. No longer able to meet up for a drink, a coffee, or now even a walk in the park, organizing an encounter with anyone other than your household or support bubble is banned and can result in a fine in the United Kingdom -- and this includes both dates and overnight stays. Therefore, the only feasible option available is online connections, by way of social networks or dating apps. Dating is hard enough at the best of times but sexual desire doesn't disappear just because you are cooped up at home. Realizing this, a number of healthcare organizations worldwide have urged us not to contribute to the spread of COVID-19 by meeting up with others for discreet sex outside of our social bubbles, bringing new meaning to the phrase, "You are your safest sex partner."
Soltani said that the issues facing the dating apps are difficult ones, with a range of possible solutions. The apps could alert individual users that a person they have expressed interest in may have participated in the Capitol takeover, or they could allow individual users to identify themselves as participants by hitting a built-in button, similar to the "I Voted" tag some social media companies offer on election days. Blocking users outright based on analysis of images, especially before arrest or adjudication, struck him as "over-moderation" by the apps.
The dating app Bumble has disabled its politics filter after it was supposedly used to reveal the identities of Capitol rioters, Mashable has reported. Bumble support posted on Twitter that it "temporarily removed our politics filter to prevent misuse," adding that it "prohibits any content that promotes terrorism or racial hatred." Bumble has promised in another tweet that it will "be reinstated in the future." It also stated that it has removed users confirmed as participants in the US Capitol attack. We've temporarily removed our politics filter to prevent misuse.
After the buyer used the weapon to kill his estranged wife and two others, the site successfully invoked Section 230 to avoid liability. More recently, Grindr, a dating app, took cover behind Section 230 when Matthew Herrick, an actor in New York, sued the site as a result of false profiles that were created by an ex-boyfriend. The profiles, which included Herrick's home and work addresses, suggested that Herrick had rape fantasies, and that any resistance he put up was part of the fantasy. As a consequence, hundreds of men showed up at his apartment door or at his workplace, at all hours, month after month, forcibly demanding sex. "You look at that law, and it seems very narrow," Herrick's lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, told me.
Google's influence in our lives is overwhelming, which is perhaps one of the reasons the Department of Justice and several state attorney generals banded together to file an anti-trust lawsuit against the company. But just how wide is Google's reach? We decided to take a look, and the results may surprise you. Start with the fact that Google ads are all over the Internet, and despite the initial stated goal of "organizing the world's information," the Alphabet unit is designed to have more ads appear, to keep the earnings up. In its most recent earnings, Alphabet reported $38.30 billion for Google.
From cute cat videos to sourdough bread recipes: sometimes, it feels like the algorithm behind YouTube's "Up Next" section knows the user better than the user knows themselves. Often, that same algorithm leads the viewer down a rabbit hole. How many times have you spent countless hours clicking through the next suggested video, each time promising yourself that this one would be the last one? The scenario gets thorny when the system somehow steers the user towards conspiracy theory videos and other forms of extreme content, as some have complained. To get an idea of how often this happens and how, the non-profit Mozilla Foundation has launched a new browser extension that lets users take action when they are recommended videos on YouTube that they then wish they hadn't ended up watching.
If I'm perusing a dating app and someone mentions being apolitical, or not caring about politics, I grimace. In this (ravaged) economy (and global pandemic and time of social unrest)? I'm not alone in this, according to data found by OkCupid. Over 500,000 users said they couldn't date someone who didn't vote, according to new data provided by the dating app. Those who say they're registered voters are 63 percent more likely to get a match -- and 85 percent more likely to receive a message.