Shortly after Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill on 6 January, 2021, multiple women decided to take the matter of finding those responsible for this attack on US democracy and holding them accountable in their own hands. Using the notorious dating app Bumble, they ‘lured’ in unsuspecting rioters before turning them over to the FBI.
This particular showcase of resourcefulness seems perfectly tailored to Bumble’s tagline ‘where women make the first move’. But where did this idea come from and how exactly did those women manage to trick rioters into confessing?
It all started when one Bumble user posted on Twitter that she knew someone who’d changed her political preference on Bumble to ‘conservative’ in order to obtain pictures and videos of rioters inside the Capitol.
The move even earned props from John Sipher, veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency’s National Clandestine Service.
The tweets quickly went viral on Twitter, which led more women to change their political preferences in order to catch the Trump supporters who took part in the Capitol riots. In response, Bumble initially issued a statement on 12 January, saying it had “taken action on accounts that have violated policy.” It also said it was “monitoring activity and will remove any users that have been confirmed as participants in the attack of the U.S. Capitol.”
This statement highlighted that the dating app wasn’t wholly supportive of the women’s efforts to aid law enforcement. On 14 January, Bumble issued another statement, saying that it had “temporarily removed” its “politics filter to prevent misuse.”
This led many women to criticise the move.
Law&Crime assumed that the dating app’s reluctance to take part in the fallout from the Capitol riots was connected to its recent filing to go public. “Bumble, Inc., which also owns European dating site Badoo, boasted 2.4 million paying users as of September 2020 and reported $417 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2020. The company was founded in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe Herd and Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev. Wolfe Herd previously settled a sexual harassment case with Tinder, her former employer.”
When questioned about its motivation for removing the politics filter, Bumble told SFGATE that “Where our AI technology flags photos, hate symbols or text content that promotes the insurrection or related activities, those are removed, with repeated offences or more extreme content resulting in a user being banned.”
Understandably, there was wide public condemnation for Bumble’s decision to remove the filter.
Shortly after, on 16 January, the filter was back up.
The company turned the politics filter back on in the US and said in a statement issued to Business Insider that it will be monitoring activity through the inauguration, which the FBI has said may be the target of further armed protests.
“Our team has an increased focus on the DC area and across the United States and are closely monitoring all activity now and through inauguration. Where our AI technology flags photos, hate symbols or text content that promotes the insurrection or related activities, those are removed, with repeated offenses or more extreme content resulting in a user being banned,” the statement read.
Since the attack on the Capitol, the FBI has been asking the public for “tips and digital media depicting rioting and violence” in and around the complex. As of Wednesday, 13 January, just over 100 people had been arrested.
As the FBI continues to investigate the insurrection on 6 January, it will surely be following more leads coming from the dating app.
The cold afternoon of 6 January, 2021, brought an excess of 82 arrests of Pro-Trump rioters who stormed the US Capitol as a protest against Joe Biden’s electoral win. With a total of five deaths and multiple injuries, the ‘peaceful gathering’ quickly turned into an afternoon of chaos, summoning the National Guard to help secure the building. In the hours that followed, Trump posted a one-minute video lamenting his electoral loss and urged his supporters to “go home” followed by a “We love you; you are very special.” The video was later taken down by Twitter, YouTube and Facebook citing it as ‘false information’ with ‘risk of violence’.
There is a lot that went down (in history as well) post 6 January. To start with, Trump now faces a second impeachment for “incitement of insurrection.” Amassing the majority of House votes, Trump currently awaits a Senate trial set to begin on 19 January, which would carry on even after the end of his presidential term. This gives us enough and more time to recapitulate every crazy bit of news revolving around his impeachment, don’t you think?
One of the most iconic American buildings was broken into. Pipe bombs were found and government laptops with highly sensitive security information were stolen. According to Fortune, Pro-Trump rioters could face serious penalties for these actions.
“Rioters with felony charges like unlawfully and violently entering the House floor could face five years of prison. Meanwhile, assaulting a federal officer with a weapon could mean 20 years of incarceration, particularly if the officer was injured” said Stanford University law professor David Sklansky.
The FBI is currently seeking information through a digital form that will assist them in identifying individuals who actively instigated violence in the Capitol. The form encourages the submission of images, videos and other multimedia files related to possible violations of federal law committed.
18-year-old Helena Duke took Twitter by storm after she named her mother, aunt and uncle spotted in a viral video filmed the night before the Capitol raid. The video highlighted a group of white Trump loyalists confronting a black woman who is later seen defending herself from an oncoming assault from Duke’s mother. Responses to her tweet were mixed. Some appreciated her efforts in helping identify potential rioters while others just labelled it “downright disrespectful.” Duke now joins an increasing list of families torn apart by Trump’s presidency.
Jenna Ryan, a Texas-based realtor and radio host allegedly took a private jet to Washington with three others to support what she claimed to be a “peaceful march” in protest of Joe Biden’s presidential win. As an attempt to join the #MarchToSaveAmerica, Ryan posted several photos and videos from the Capitol grounds on Twitter and Facebook. One tweet even featured her posing next to a broken window with the caption “Window at The capital. And if the news doesn’t stop lying about us we’re going to come after their studios next…” Yes, we kept the spelling of this tweet intact…
Although Ryan continues to deny all allegations of entering the Capitol, her live-stream video broadcasted from inside the building while chanting ‘USA’ made it easier for the FBI to track her down, not to mention all of the other ‘circumstantial’ evidence.
After Facebook made the call to permanently suspend Trump’s account, Twitter followed suit. Ensuing a 24-hour suspension, Twitter pulled the plug on @realDonaldTrump, stating an extensive list of reasons via its blog post. The aftermath of this decision was a rocky one: several Trump loyalists threatened to leave the platform while critics dug up old meme templates to use.
The Twitter ban also sparked debates on Trump’s potential takeover of Melania’s account. Although no recent tweets have surfaced on the first lady’s personal and government account, some critics had a field day imagining the takeover.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has recently been making headlines for ‘recycling’ the same black outfit she wore for Donald Trump’s previous impeachment back in 2019. The only change made to the entire ensemble was the substitution of the golden Mace of the Republic brooch with a patterned face mask. On impeachment days Nancy wears black. And honestly, we’re digging it!
14 January recorded a rare sign of Trump moving out of the White House. The pallets of cardboard boxes, according to NBC News, were delivered to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as the Biden administration is set to take office on 20 January and further plans on deep cleaning the White House following multiple outbreaks of the coronavirus on White House grounds.
With an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to his impeachment, the odds don’t look good for Trump. If not for the insurrection, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez states to impeach Trump for his now-infamous Georgia votes phone call. Either way, this second impeachment and conviction have strong chances to pave the way to the denial of all post-presidential perks for Trump. To begin with, this includes removing his name as a beneficiary to a number of taxpayer-financed benefits, denying a stipend of $200,000 per year and barring the possibility of a $1 million travel budget along with taxpayer subsidies.
These undeserved perks add to the growing list of reasons why the nation would hold its breath once the Senate reconvenes. Curious to know what Trump has to say about all this? Here’s his comment.