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Why you don’t want Tumblr sold to exploitative Pornhub – TechCrunch

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Tumblr has been squandered ever since it was bought for $1.1 billion in 2013 by Yahoo, now part of Verizon Media Group. Without proper strategy or talent, the blogging tool and early meme-sharing network fell into decline while Medium and Instagram soared. Yahoo wrote down Tumblr’s value by $230 million in 2016. Then last year, Verizon evicted Tumblr’s huge and loyal base of porn bloggers, leaving no viable platform for independent adult content creators and curators.

Now the Wall Street Journal reports that TechCrunch parent company Verizon is considering selling Tumblr.

Many immediately hoped it’d change hands to an owner who’d embrace pornography, such as social media darling Pornhub. BuzzFeed quickly reported that Pornhub VP Corey Price told it “We’re extremely interested in acquiring the platform and are very much looking forward to one day restoring it to its former glory with NSFW content.”

But given Pornhub parent company MindGeek’s record of exploitation of adult performers, that could be a disastrous proceeding for the world of kink.

Outside of Pornhub, MindGeek owns many of the top porn streaming sites like YouPorn, RedTube, and GayTube. Widespread piracy of porn films by those sites has made it tough for performers to earn a living. Many smaller studios or performers don’t have the legal or financial resources to file constant copyright infringement takedown notices, and MindGeek’s sites have been accused of allow re-uploads of videos days after taking them down.

The truly insidious part is that MindGeek has also bought up a bunch of the top porn production studios including Brazzers, Babes.com, and Digital Playground. MindGeek has been accused of allowing those studios’ films to be pirated by its own streaming sites. That lets MindGeek earn and keep streaming ad revenue without giving performers a proper cut.

The result has been a massive decline in the wages of porn performers and the number of films being made. This is turn pushes performers into more rough and extreme porn genres they’re not comfortable with, or into other sex work like prostitution that can be dangerous. We reached out to Verizon Media Group which told us “we don’t comment on rumors”, and we’re awaiting comment on piracy issues from MindGeek.

If Pornhub and MindGeek succeed in acquiring Tumblr to strengthen their near monopoly, they could end up exploiting porn bloggers and the performers they post about too. You could imagine the photos and GIFs in diverse porn genres that populated Tumblr getting scraped and shared across MindGeek’s network of sites beyond the bloggers’ or performers’ control. Or Tumblr’s porn blogs could be used to funnel traffic towards MindGeek’s crooked streaming sites, exacerbating the piracy problem. A more optimistic view is would be that Pornhub’s newer features that let performers set up their own paywalls could help Tumblr curators earn money for themselves…and MindGeek. If Pornhub managed to turn Tumblr around, it would deal a stern lesson to platforms that were quick to ban adult content.

Since many of the puritanical US government’s elected officials likely see porn performers as godless heathens undeserving of protection, they’re unlikely to try to safeguard the profession with anti-trust or fair payout regulation. The SESTA-FOSTA law that went into effect last year intending to stop sex trafficking ended up pushing sites like Tumblr, Facebook, and Patreon towards tougher crack downs on porn, nudity, or even innocent discussions about sex within support communities for LGTBQ people and other underprivileged minorities.

Unfortunately, MindGeek’s massive footprint means it might be willing to bid the highest price for Tumblr. If Verizon does sell Tumblr, it should seek a buyer with an upstanding record for how it treats creators. But Verizon could also modernize Tumblr to emphasize what’s differentiated about it in today’s tech landscape versus when it was founded in 2007. Obviously, it could reopen to porn. But there are also family friendly opportunities.

Tumblr was one of the first big meme-sharing communities, even spawning its own format of screenshots of progressively crazier replies to a short text post. Yet in 2019, the top meme networks like Instagram, Reddit, and Imgur aren’t actually built for distributing massive ‘dumps’ of memes. They don’t understand which you’ve already seen to prevent showing re-runs, or how remixes of an original meme all relate and should be linked. Tumblr could build meme-specific features that give users more curational power than Reddit and Imgur, but more freedom of expression under less pressure than Instagram.

Tumblr could also be repurposed into a “your Internet homepage” platform. Most social networks are so desperate to keep users on their apps that they restrict or deemphasize the ability to promote your other web presences. They also often focus on a narrow set of content types like photos and videos on Instagram. This leaves users who don’t have their own dedicated websites without a central hub where they can freely express their identity and link to profiles elsewhere. This is a huge opportunity for Tumblr, which has already established itself an open-ended self-expression platform open to a variety of content formats.

AOL, which was combined with Yahoo to form the Verizon Media Group, previously owned a web profile platform called About.me, but sold it back to its creator Tony Conrad in 2013. Tumblr could assume much of About.me’s functionality as a directory of someone’s presences on other apps, and add that to its blogging platform. Instead of being locked into Instagram and Pinterest’s grids and standardized designs, Tumblr could let people create a homepage collage representing their prismatic identities.

Tumblr’s already been waning in popularity for years, so Verizon might not have a lot to lose by giving Tumblr a year to execute on this strategy before selling it for surely much less than it bought it for in 2013. Tumblr’s remaining users deserve better than the platform fading into nothing or being sold to the unscrupulous.

If any pornography industry professionals want to weigh in, please contact this article’s author Josh Constine via phone/text or Signal encrypted messenger at (585)750-5674 or joshc ‘at’ techcrunch dot com.

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Teenage Engineering computer-1 flat-pack PC chassis instantly sold out

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The folks at Teenage Engineering had a brand new pc chassis for sale earlier today. By the time it really started trending on social networks, it was already sold out. This chassis is designed to be simple and light, but strong enough to withstand basic wear-and-tear. The version the design group had for sale this morning would’ve cost you around $195 – but they’ve released the layout plans so you could technically make one of your own.

The Teenage Engineering Computer-1 was sold in the Teenage Engineering shop for $195 USD. For that cash you got a flat-pack set of laser-cut sheet metal parts with a couple of chrome metal handles and some rubber bumpers for the feet. The sheet metal has a pure orange RAL 2004 powder coated finish.

If you would like to build one of these sets yourself, you can get the plans from Teenage Engineering now. You’ll need your own laser cutting machine, or a way to 3D print similar parts. The original was made with 1mm aluminum, so you might need to modify the way you make the build if you’re using any other sort of material.

Teenage Engineering may make another run of these cases in the future. Given the interest shown today, it’d make sense for the group to make more, but given the group’s aim and track record, there’s a distinct possibility that this release began and ended here, in a single day.

This might be a fine wake-up call for other PC case creators, too. Imagine the simplicity of manufacturing a bunch of flat metal pieces and selling the package to users IKEA style. Now, all you need is the hype power and top-tier 3D design skills of the folks at Teenage Engineering, and you’ve got a winner on your hands.

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Instagram Stories links are now available for all accounts

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Instagram has confirmed that it’s bringing the ability to and links to Stories for all user accounts. When Stories links were first revealed, they were only available for verified accounts or accounts with a certain number of followers. However, Instagram says over the years it has seen that the ability to share links to stories is helpful, so it’s expanding access to everyone.

The Instagram community has been asking for Stories links for everyone to make sharing content with friends and family easier. Links are now available for sharing for everyone with no stipulation on account size. To add links to Stories, users can use the Link sticker.

When people click the sticker, they will be redirected. Adding a Link sticker is easy and starts with capturing or uploading content to the story. Users then select the sticker tool from the navigation bar and tap the Link sticker to add the desired link. Once that is complete, users can place the sticker on their story, and there are variations of the sticker available.

Instagram also says it’s working on customizing the sticker to make it clear what users will see when they tap it. Instagram is also talking about its ongoing effort to keep its community of users safe. To facilitate safety, new accounts and accounts that repeatedly share content, including hate speech or misinformation, as well as anything that violates community guidelines, won’t have access to the Link sticker.

The Link sticker isn’t the only change Instagram has made this month. Previously, Instagram announced that its desktop app was getting photo upload capability. Before adding the capability to upload content from the desktop app, all uploading had to be done from the mobile app. The change was implemented on October 21.

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2021 MacBook Pro teardown tease shows what’s on the inside

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It’s very common for manufacturers like Apple to release new products, and fans always want to know what they look like on the inside. However, the last thing most of us want to do is tear apart our brand-new and expensive gadgets to look. Thankfully, IFIXIT has been gutting new devices for a long time, giving us a look at what’s on the inside without having to trash our own hardware.

Right now, a teardown for the 2021 MacBook Pro is being teased with a few pictures ahead of the full reveal. As you would expect, everything is packed very tightly into the thin and lightweight MacBook Pro notebooks. While there are no real details offered at this time about the hardware inside, we already know what to expect from Apple’s official event.

Apple has fitted its 2021 model notebooks with additional ports. An improved keyboard is integrated that hopefully won’t break if you eat lunch and work at the same time. MagSafe charging is integrated, and Apple ditched the Touch Bar for traditional function keys. The real changes come in new Apple silicon running the show. One interesting tidbit that has been shared from the full teardown is that the battery cells have pull tabs to make them easier to remove and aren’t crammed under a logic board.

We hope that means should your battery go bad down the road; you don’t have to completely disassemble the notebook to install a new one. The four outer cells of the battery have pull tabs similar to those used in the iPhone and MacBook Air. However, we will have to wait for the full teardown to know everything about these batteries and just how easy they are to remove and replace.

The prospect of more DIY friendly component placements should have Mac fans excited. The gang also got their hands on that $20 official Apple polishing cloth, simply called the “Polishing Cloth.” A price of $19 is pretty steep for cloth used to shine the screen of your iPhone, but it has an Apple logo, and that’s enough for some. The cloth feels like Alcantara and appears to be the same material used inside the iPad Smart Cover.

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