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Bumble-Backed Anti-Cyberflashing Bill Passes in California

At Bumble, keeping our community safe online has always been a top priority. For the past several years, we’ve been working with legislators at the state level to try to make the sending of unsolicited lewd photos prohibited, first in our home state of Texas in 2019 and in Virginia in July 2022. 

This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Cyberflashing Bill SB 53—also known as the FLASH Act—into law, going into effect on January 1, 2023. This makes California the third state with Bumble-backed legislation in place. 

The FLASH Act is intended to help protect internet users in California from cyberflashing, or the sending of unsolicited lewd images or videos. The bill establishes a private right of action against any person over 18 years of age who knows, or reasonably should know, that the lewd image or video transmitted is unsolicited. 

It also entitles the recipient to recover economic and noneconomic damages or statutory damages of a sum not less than $1,500 but not more than $30,000, as well as punitive damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, and other available relief.

The bill was authored and introduced by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and co-authored by a group comprised entirely of women lawmakers in California. 

In addition to our legislative efforts in the U.S., Bumble has been working alongside organizations and politicians in the U.K. to help make cyberflashing a crime. In March 2022, the U.K. Government announced that it would introduce a cyberflashing offense as part of its new Online Safety Bill.

We’ve also created a safety feature within the Bumble app in an effort to better shield people from harassment via the sending of lewd images. The technology, called Private Detector, works by using A.I. to automatically blur a potential nude image shared within a chat on Bumble. It’ll then notify you that you’ve been sent something that’s been detected as inappropriate; it’s up to you to decide whether to view or block the image.

For more information on our anti-cyberflashing work, including ways to contact your local legislators to request a similar bill in your state, click here.