Bumble removes political preference filter after Capitol riots honeypot scheme

Women in the US are apparently using dating apps to track down insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol building last week to report them to the FBI.

Their self-reported tactics have already prompted one dating app to change its policies.

Bumble has removed its political preference filter temporarily, but claims it’s searching for Capitol rioters on the app and reporting them to authorities.

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“How the f**k is reporting insurrectionists misuse, Bumble?” One Twitter user asked.

“Rest assured that we prohibit any content that promotes terrorism or racial hatred, and we’ve already removed any users that have been confirmed as participants in the attack of the US Capitol,” the company replied.

Bumble ordinarily allows people to give their political preferences (choosing between “conservative” and “liberal”, which can make it a confusing filter for Australian users given the name of our own dominant “conservative” party).

In the US, women have reported “friends of friends” using the filter to track down people who stormed the Capitol, or were at least willing to lie about it to try and impress them.

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One popular Twitter account — a random but handsome user known as Caucasian James — shared a screenshot with his 1.4 million followers of a profile from a “patriot” telling “anyone who was at the Capitol ‘riots’” that they “have her heart”.

Some followers were quick to agree that it “can’t be real” and pointed to the circulating reports of “honeypotting”.

Others suggested that it was indeed the case that it was part of a honeypot style trap, while others told them not to reveal that if it is the case.

A “honeypot” is an investigatory and espionage tactic that tries to lure the target into a romantic or sexual relationship that could be used to compromise them.

Jennifer Lawrence provided a broad overview of the concept through her character in the truly awful 2018 film Red Sparrow, which is otherwise a complete waste of your time with no real redeeming features (although it did pick Ms Lawrence up an award for “Actress Most in Need of a New Agent” from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists).

The tactic is popular in spy-fiction because it looks great on screen, but has also been used by real intelligence agencies around the world.

In recent years the same name has begun being used for a cybersecurity technique, where an isolated part of a computer network is spoofed to look like it contains important data that would attract attackers and keep them there long enough to analyse and block them.

The FBI has charged dozens of people and arrested more than 100 so far in relation to the Capitol building incident and is expecting to charge more.

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