Whitney Wolfe Herd has testified before California legislators in support of a new online sexual harassment bill. If passed, the corresponding law would make the unsolicited sending of lewd images illegal in the state.
This is the latest development in Bumble’s continued push to outlaw this kind of activity. Earlier this year, the female-first dating and social app backed a similar bill in New York.
The company also recently hired Lisa Roman as the its first Vice President of Public Policy. This committed position will focus on approaching legislators across the company before potentially helping to introduce a bill on the federal level.
Speaking in her testimony to Californian lawmakers, Wolfe Herd explained: “By passing this bill, California will establish a much-needed deterrent against a pervasive form of digital harassment and send a strong signal that jeopardizing one’s mental wellbeing cannot be the cost of connecting to modern-day technology.
“I am asking you to pass this bill on behalf of millions of women who are the overwhelming victims of this type of digital harassment. Our women customers tell us that they are receiving unwanted—and in some instances triggering—photos on all corners of the internet: in their email boxes, social media accounts, professional networking sites, and even AirDropped directly to their phones.”
She added that these continued instances are leading to a “startling” number of women feeling vulnerable and distrustful when talking to others online.
Bumble successfully aided the introduction of a sexual image law in Texas in September 2019. The act is now seen as a class C misdemeanour, the same as a speeding ticket, and offenders could be fined up to $500.
The app also created the ‘Private Detector’ software a couple of years ago, which automatically detects and censors sexual images. The recipient can then make a conscious decision whether or not they want to view it and even submit a report if necessary.
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