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415 0 0 0 1. 748 0 0 0 2. 624 0 0 0 1. 47 0 0 0 13 6. 5 0 1 0 6. The makers of the popular dating app Bumble say they have found a way to identify jerks—and keep them away from you.
The app doesn’t allow men to initiate conversations, cutting down on unwelcome advances. Female users must start conversations with a match before he can reply. This month, the company is launching a new feature intended to further improve the sometimes wonky dynamics of online dating, Bumble told TIME exclusively. Changes to its algorithm will thin out flakes, jerks, and trolls.
The idea isn’t entirely new. Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe says VIBee status has nothing to do with external markers of social status, but how users conduct themselves on the app. If you didn’t graduate from Harvard you can still earn your way in. Wolfe says that Bumble isn’t about browsing, but making connections. Evaluating behavior on the app is aimed at furthering that goal. It’s about rewarding, not excluding. Users can earn VIBee—a play on VIP and with Bumble’s bumble bee logo—status by responding to messages and by swiping judiciously.
The algorithm looks out for users who swipe right on everyone to cast a wide net, and for users who never swipe right at all. Anyone who has been reported for harassment on the app is not eligible for VIBee status, unless Bumble administrators have investigated and dismissed the complaint. Users with VIBee status will be able to search only for other VIBee-status users. Sarah Mick, who is Head of Product and Design at Bumble with fellow Tinder veteran Chris Gulczynski. VIBee was really created as the first step to rewarding these users. Wolfe, 26, was a co-founder of Tinder who was ousted from the company in 2014. She founded Bumble shortly afterwards.