Reader question time on TechJunkie and this time it’s about Bumble, the other dating app. The full question was ‘Does Bumble exclude and filter out your Facebook friends? I and a match have lots of friends in common but we only see a few of them in Bumble.’ A question worthy of investigation if ever there was one.
Also see our article How To Send a Message in Bumble
Bumble is rapidly gaining ground on Tinder thanks to the unique way it works. By allowing women to initiate conversations, it attracts more female users. This in turn attracts more male users and forces everyone to up their game. As someone who has always been about quality over quantity, this resonates well with me.
Like Tinder, Bumble uses Facebook to build your profile. Also like Tinder, it’s a taker not a giver so will not alert your Facebook friends you’re on Bumble or post anything to Facebook while you use the app.
Does Bumble filter Facebook friends?
The one downside to these apps using Facebook is the risk of seeing friends, colleagues or co-workers on the app. Or them seeing you. The original questions asked if Bumble filters or excludes Facebook friends and the answer is we really don’t know. I tried some experiments with a group of friends to try to find out.
I had 13 friends in common with a buddy who I ran this experiment with. In our profiles, it showed only 7. Another friend and I had 42 mutual friends, mostly from college, but only 27 of those showed in Bumble. While this is a very limited experiment, it does indicate that some kind of filtering or exclusion does happen. Either that or there is a glitch in how Bumble extrapolates Facebook friend data.
According to Bumble, it will collect your name, username, email address, phone number, gender, date of birth, sexual preference, images, location and login information. It will also access your friends lists and data from other social media accounts like Instagram and any other that you link to Facebook. It says it will only publicly share what it needs to but says nothing about filtering, exclusions or anything about how Bumble works.
Bumble without Facebook
If ‘bumping into’ mutual friends or acquaintances on Bumble freaks you out, there is good news. From April 2018, Bumble has added a way to create a profile without using Facebook. Instead, you will be able to log in and create an account with your phone number alone and not have to link the two accounts.
This is in response to people turning away from Facebook and being understandably more concerned about the data they put on the social network. Recent data-sharing scandals and the way Facebook interferes with modern life has caused many thousands of people to shut their accounts. Bumble doesn’t want this to impact membership so have introduced a way to use the dating app without Facebook.
“Many of our users and prospective users have asked for a way to register for Bumble without linking their Facebook account, and we are excited to roll out this feature to our users starting today,” Jessica Collins, product marketing manager at Bumble, said in a statement on 16 April 2018. “We’re excited to continue to scale globally to new communities while preserving the Bumble experience that our users know and love.”
This is very welcome news for any Bumble user who wants to keep the two sides of their life completely separate. Bumble did use Facebook to streamline the registration process and to verify identity. It was always easier to select the ‘Sign in with Facebook’ option and let the app do the rest. Little did we know how risky that would be. Thanks to Cambridge Analytica, we now know to never use Facebook to log into anything that uses personal data.
Do it yourself
Now you can sign up to Bumble using your phone number it makes perfect sense to do just that. Existing users may want to recreate their Bumble profile and new users will definitely want to use the phone option instead of Facebook. It does mean you will have to prepare your own profile and images and upload them yourself but also means you have full control over who sees what and when.
The one thing Bumble hasn’t yet said is how they will be verifying accounts. One of the great things about Bumble is that there were far fewer scammers on there than on other dating apps. Using Facebook to verify accounts was at least a useful way to check someone was real. Without that element, how is Bumble going to check the legitimacy of their users? I cannot find an answer for that right now so I suggest being extra vigilant when meeting people using the app.