Morgan* woke up early on Thursday, April 21, a day intended to be spent studying for a final exam in a competitive program at University of British Colombia, to the sound of her phone buzzing.
This is weird, Morgan thought. She knew Chris, but she hadn’t spoken to him for several months. They certainly had no plans of hanging out. She was typing out a reply when her phone buzzed again.
Morgan didn’t have time to react. Her phone vibrated with new unknown numbers. She read messages from John, Samir, Austin, and Clayton-names of guys she didn’t recognize. The time between texts shrunk rapidly. As fast as she could type out a message to one sender, several more would flash on her phone.
“Where did you get my number?” she asked one mysterious texter. From her Bumble account, he replied. Her phone buzzed again.
Morgan googled Bumble and quickly found it’s the so-called feminist Tinder, where only women can send the first message. She sent Bumble an email asking to rescue her from the uninvited onslaught she was enduring from a dating site she never knew existed. If someone had set up a fake account for her there, she wanted it shut down now.
;a rather unfunny joke one of her friends had pulled. It should all be over in an hour or so, Morgan thought. But her phone kept buzzing. And buzzing. And buzzing.
Then the calls started. Morgan didn’t dare answer. “Where are you?” strange voices kept asking on her voicemail. Some of her would-be dates were sitting in coffee shops, and pubs across the city, wondering when she would show up. Morgan was paralyzed. And the buzzing and calls kept coming.
Morgan had never heard of Bumble before
Online dating disproportionately bombards female users with messages. The New York Times found men are three times as likely to swipe right for a woman than women are to swipe right for a man.
This past October, the Angus Reid Institute found that nearly half of Canadians aged 18 to 34 say they’ve been harassed on social media. This number is higher for visible minorities, people who identify as LGBTQ, and women. According to Angus Reid, 58 percent of LGBTQ social media users have been harassed online and four-in-ten visible minorities say they’ve been harassed on social media. Eight percent of women noted that they have been stalked online-in comparison to only 4 percent of men.
By the time Bumble’s Feedback team responded to Morgan, her morning study session had been wiped out by hours of torment from her seemingly demon-possessed phone. At around 4 PM, she received an email.
Hi there! Since the only way to sign into Bumble is through Facebook, Bumble is a password-free app! You can try changing your password on Facebook, or we can delete your profile. Would you like us to delete your account for you?
Morgan repeated her request for the account to be taken down. Bumble asked for her number and for screenshots of the account.
It was at this point that I met Morgan. I, like many of the other guys who were texting her, had been given the number from the fake Bumble account.
Women on online dating sites like OkCupid or Plenty of Fish can get anywhere between 50 to 100 messages in less than an hour
“Hey, how’s it going?” Morgan’s first message read. “Pretty well. Just making a cheese dip for a party later tonight. How about you?” “I’m good. You have a party tonight?” she replied. “Yeah, we are saying goodbye to one of our professors. Are you celebrating the end of the school year in any way?” I replied. “Yeah, I’m gonna party this weekend.” “Sweet. So what sort of party will that be? Going out? House party?” “House party. Do you know of any going out parties?” “Well, the Biltmore is having a Nochella themed event that my friends and I might hit up on Friday. But I’d bet partying with you is a lot of fun if you want to grab drinks on the weekend 😉 .” “That’s awesome. We can do that.” “Sweet. Do you want to go on Friday or Saturday?” “Friday would be better. But I’d prefer some place closer to campus.” “Well, we could go to Koerners bar at 9 PM?” “What about 8 PM?” “Sure. Austin best hookup apps I can make that work.” “Thanks,” she gave me her number. “Text me when you are there.”