As Americans (and their legislators) come to grips with the wealth of personal data they’ve volunteered to Facebook over the years, they will likely look harder at the services they’ve connected their credentials to. In at least one case, a business is responding in kind.
Bumble, a Tinder-like dating app that launched in 2014 with a “women send the first message” twist, announced plans on Monday to remove its Facebook credential requirement effective tomorrow, April 17. Should new users want to join Bumble or if existing users want to de-link their Facebook accounts, they will simply have to confirm a phone number.
“The reason behind this improvement is due to the overwhelming request from prospective users who are not too fond of Facebook and, because of this, refused to give online dating a try,” a Bumble PR representative wrote in an email to Ars Technica.
Bumble announced that its “custom, manual registration” will bypass all third-party verifications, and the company calls its update “a step beyond other dating apps, who allow phone number registration but still share data with Facebook.” Though Tinder is unnamed, it’s arguably the most popular American dating site to currently require Facebook credentials. Bumble has a fraught history with that dating app, as Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd left Tinder in 2014 amid a salacious lawsuit.
One Tinder user’s data request turned into 800 pages of probing infoOn one hand, this means that Bumble will no longer require that its users engage in an unclear data relationship with Facebook, which its existing terms of service describe as follows: “Remember that when you register with a third party, you are also giving them personal information, so we recommend that you read their privacy policies as Bumble does not control how they use their information.” (To put the data-privacy issue into perspective, consider one European Tinder user’s quest to uncover the 800-page dossier of combined Facebook and Tinder data attached to her account last year.)
On the other hand, Facebook’s default sign-up process includes safeguards that (presumably) assist an outside service with profile verification and spam protection. Bumble’s Monday statement acknowledges this fact. One quote in the statement said that Bumble still “encourages their users to verify their account for safe online networking,” while project marketing manager Jessica Collins said that “safety will continue to be our first priority and our moderation team will continue to preserve the Bumble experience.”
Bumble representatives did not immediately respond to Ars’ questions about how the app’s TOS may change in light of this registration adjustment or how the company’s moderation system will adapt to this Facebook-credential removal.
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