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Dating App Is Righteously Banning Users Who Ghost Their Dates

Bad behavior could get you kicked off of Bumble for good.

If you've been on the dating scene at any point in the past few years, you've probably been ghosted. The term has many definitions and can be used when someone stops responding to messages on a dating app, doesn't show up to a planned date, or cuts off contact via phone and text with someone they've been dating and doesn't say why. It's rampant, too: In 2016, a PlentyOfFish study found that as many as 80 percent of singles aged 18 to 33 had been ghosted. Every time it happens, it's frustrating, especially if you thought you and your ghost had a connection. Now, Bumble is giving you some control back, and will ban users for ghosting.

Read on to discover how this ban is being implemented, and what it might mean for dating app users.

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Bumble banned ghosting as part of its bullying and abuse policy.

Young adult woman swiping on an online dating app. She's using her smart phone on the sofa at home.

Ghosting will now be taken seriously on the popular dating app Bumble. In late August, the app banned the behavior as part of its bullying and abuse policy. According to its site, members are not allowed to "not show up to an in-person meet up despite clear plans agreed by both parties."

While some definitions of ghosting include not responding to messages, this one only applies to in-person hangouts—it's still OK, according to the app, to stop talking to someone without explaining yourself.

The company also does not consider behavior to be ghosting if you notify your date that you aren't showing up—even if it's at the last minute—or explain why you weren't able to attend, it confirmed with Insider. They said a behavior will only qualify as a ghost if "no contact prior to or after the date has been made by the reported party to explain the behavior."

So fear not: If you get stuck without reception and miss your date, you can't be reported—as long as you share that with your date in a timely fashion.

If you report an account to Bumble for ghosting, a member of the support team will review it and decide if that person needs a warning or a ban. The app will not tell the person who reported them.

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Experts say ghosting can negatively impact mental health.

Sad woman sitting at a bar being stood up and using smart phone
valentinrussanov / iStock

There's no doubt that ghosting is rude, but experts say it can also be unhealthy. For one 2021 study published in Psychology of Popular Media, researchers recruited 76 college students to share their experiences of ghosting. It found that in the short term, people who had been ghosted reported feelings of low self-worth and self-esteem; they occasionally felt paranoid, wondering why the other person stopped talking to them. In the long term, ghosting led to mistrust in relationships.

Bumble seems to understand this and sees its change as a way of cultivating a more positive dating atmosphere.

"Creating authentic connections that are rooted in kindness and respect is at the forefront of everything we do, and we are proud to be releasing such stringent and granular Community Guidelines that reinforce to our members what we expect of them both on and off our apps," Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder and CEO of Bumble Inc, told the New York Post.

However, the Psychology of Popular Media study also uncovered that there are some legitimate reasons people ghost. While some participants admitted they ghosted to avoid having an uncomfortable conversation, 45 percent said they did it to remove themselves from a "toxic," "unpleasant," or "unhealthy" situation. It's unclear if or how the Bumble ban will deal with these instances.

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Bumble has banned other bad behaviors.

Man flirting online dating

Bumble's new bullying and abuse policy is fairly comprehensive. It now bans doxing, or, as it writes it in its policy, "[releasing] a person's private contact information, photos, or other personally identifying information without their consent."

It also bans victim blaming and shaming survivors of sexual assault, exploitation, harassment, and domestic abuse. And if you send the same message to all your matches, you might catch a warning as well: That's against its community guidelines.

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The ban raises questions about unwarranted reporting.

Woman liking dating app profile on phone

It's not difficult to imagine an instance in which people take advantage of this policy. The term "revenge reporting" was even coined to describe situations where people report others for dubious reasons. Users say that Bumble appears to take claims seriously, though.

"I've had to report someone on dating apps before," wrote one user on Reddit. "Bumble is usually good with communication, from my experience they reviewed our conversations. And I actually spoke with a representative, so to be banned is serious."

It makes sense, because bans are forever.

"We don't allow our users to circumnavigate permanent blocks by creating new accounts," the company writes. "Once your profile has been blocked, you are no longer permitted to use Bumble. Period."

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Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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