To Catch An Insurrectionist

Some of the women on Bumble engaged in trickery to find Capitol riot attendees — was that a good idea?

In the wake of the Capitol riot an odd controversy emerged that blurred the line between cancel culture and the legitimate seeking of justice involving, of all things, the dating app Bumble.

Some background for those of you who don’t know what Bumble is — it is the Sadie Hawkins dance of dating apps. The location-based service is centered around the women using it; in potential heterosexual matches, only the woman is allowed to make initial contact. The app offers various ways to filter the results it presents, one of those filters being political orientation. Two political options are offered, conservative or liberal.

On January 7th Alia Awadallah noted that there was an uptick of men on Bumble in the DC area who appeared to have attended the Capitol riot. Allison Norris replied with a tweet that went viral

In response to this, on January 14th Bumble temporarily disabled the political affiliation filter citing “misuse” of the filter. After intense backlash from Bumble users, who were accusing the company of protecting insurrectionists, the company reversed that decision and reinstated the political affiliation filter on January 15th.

As of now, there is no evidence that the FBI used any of the submitted information to charge any Capitol riot attendees, nor do we know exactly how many women actually changed their political affiliation filter in order to suss out men who attended the riot. The incident has however sparked a debate around the propriety of such actions.

Is this an example of cancel culture? It has the hallmarks of a canceling campaign; a concentrated effort to find information with the intent of using that information to harm the targets of the campaign. And it’s not as if a catfishing expedition needed to be launched to find info on who attended the Capitol riot; the Department of Justice already has all the information it needs to identify and arrest the attendees.

This wasn’t a campaign to dredge up dumb tweets from a decade ago however, this was men gladly handing over evidence to a complete stranger proving that they participated in federal crimes. The fact that these men did so with the hopes that revealing that info would lead to a romantic rendezvous makes this story even more ridiculous. It’s easy to argue that if a man is dumb (or horny) enough to implicate himself in a crime then he deserves whatever consequences come of that.

The easy justification for the Bumble scheme is that it was a bad thing done for good reasons. But isn’t that how every canceling campaign is justified by those who participate in it? Does a cause being just excuse the bad behavior?

I ask you, dear readers — was this a problematic example of vigilante cancel culture or a case of crowdsourced justice?

Originally published at

Libertarian podcaster and writer, alleged influencer, prolific tweeter — I deal in politics, the news cycle, and weird internet drama

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