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SeatGeek names former Tumblr and NYT exec Brian Murphy as CTO

May 1, 2019 No Comments

Ticketing startup SeatGeek has a new CTO.

Brian Murphy previously held the same position at Tumblr (which, like TechCrunch, is owned by Verizon Media) and has also served as vice president of engineering at The New York Times and senior director of technology at Condé Nast.

“Brian is an incredible leader and team-builder who has overseen engineering teams for some remarkable companies,” said SeatGeek co-founder and CEO Jack Groetzinger in a statement. “He is a perfect fit for this role at SeatGeek and embodies the values we hold – he loves building great products, is humble yet aggressive in how he approaches opportunities, and is focused on creating experiences live event fans will love.”

Murphy told me his career started in consulting, but he’s been attracted to technology roles in media companies because he was “drawn to all the smart creative folks who want to use their technology in that medium.”

As for SeatGeek, Murphy described it as a “very consumer-oriented, very mobile-focused” company that’s now moving into the enterprise business by working with teams and venues to sell tickets. He also said he’ll be working on international expansion and helping SeatGeek build a broader live event experience.

“You’ve sort of started to see it with partnerships with Lyft and Snapchat and Spotify,” he said.”There’s definitely an opportunity how we bring our Starbucks-esque experience to the stadium.”

Murphy added that he’ll be “very, very busy with recruiting.”

Meanwhile, SeatGeek’s outgoing CTO Eric Waller isn’t leaving the company — instead, he’s becoming chief product officer.


Startups – TechCrunch


Indonesia unblocks Tumblr following its ban on adult content

December 29, 2018 No Comments

Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest country by population, has unblocked Tumblr nine months after it blocked the social networking site over pornographic content.

Tumblr — which, disclaimer, is owned by Oath Verizon Media Group just like TechCrunch — announced earlier this month that it would remove all “adult content” from its platform. That decision, which angered many in the adult entertainment industry who valued the platform as an increasingly rare outlet that supported erotica, was a response to Apple removing Tumblr’s app from the iOS Store after child pornography was found within the service.

The impact of this new policy has made its way to Indonesia, where KrAsia reports that the service was unblocked earlier this week. The service had been blocked in March after falling foul of the country’s anti-pornography laws.

“Tumblr sent an official statement regarding the commitment to clean the platform from pornographic content,” Ferdinandus Setu, acting head of the Ministry of Communication and Informatics Bureau, is reported to have said in a press statement.

Messaging apps WhatsApp and Line are among the other services that have been forced to comply with the government’s ban on “unsuitable” content in order to keep their services open in the country. Telegram, meanwhile, removed suspected terrorist content last year after its service was partially blocked.

While perhaps not widely acknowledged in the West, Indonesia is a huge market, with a population of more than 260 million people. The world’s largest Muslim country, it is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and its growth is tipped to help triple the region’s digital economy to $ 240 billion by 2025.

In other words, Indonesia is a huge market for internet companies.

The country’s anti-porn laws have been used to block as many as 800,000 websites as of 2017so potentially over a million by now — but they have also been used to take aim at gay dating apps, some of which have been removed from the Google Play Store. As Vice notes, “while homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, it’s no secret that the country has become a hostile place for the LGBTQ community.”


Social – TechCrunch


Tumblr will delete all porn from its platform

December 4, 2018 No Comments

Tumblr, a microblogging service that’s impact on internet culture has been massive and unique, is preparing for a massive change that’s sure to upset many of its millions of users.

On December 17, Tumblr will be banning porn, errr “adult content,” from its site and encouraging users to flag that content for removal. Existing adult content will be set to a “private mode” viewable only to the original poster.

What does “adult content” even mean? Well, according to Tumblr, the ban means the removal of any media that depicts “real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations—that depicts sex acts.”

This is a lot more complicated than just deleting some hardcore porn from the site; over the past several years Tumblr has become a hub for communities and artists with more adult themes. This has largely been born out of the fact that adult content has been disallowed from other multimedia-focused social platforms. There are bans on nudity and sexual content on Instagram and Facebook, though Twitter has more relaxed standards.

Why now? The Tumblr app was removed from the iOS app store several weeks ago due to an issue with its content filtering that led the company to issue a statement. “We’re committed to helping build a safe online environment for all users, and we have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to media featuring child sexual exploitation and abuse,” the company had detailed. “We’re continuously assessing further steps we can take to improve and there is no higher priority for our team.”

We’ve reached out to Tumblr for further comment.

Update: In a blog post titled “A better, more positive Tumblr,” the company’s CEO Jeff D’Onofrio minimized claims that the content ban was related to recent issues surrounding child porn, and is instead intended to make the platform one “where more people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”

“As Tumblr continues to grow and evolve, and our understanding of our impact on our world becomes clearer, we have a responsibility to consider that impact across different age groups, demographics, cultures, and mindsets,” the post reads. “Bottom line: There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community.”

The imminent “adult content” ban will not apply to media connected with breastfeeding, birth or more general “health-related situations” like surgery, according to the company.

Tumblr is attempting to make aims to minimize the impact on the site’s artistic community as well, but this level of nuance is going to be incredibly difficult for them to enforce uniformly and will more than likely lead to a lot of frustrated users being told that their content does not qualify as “art.”

Tumblr is also looking to minimize impact on the more artistic storytelling, “such as erotica, nudity related to political or newsworthy speech, and nudity found in art, such as sculptures and illustrations, are also stuff that can be freely posted on Tumblr.”

I don’t know how much it needs to be reiterated that child porn is a major issue plaguing the web, but a blanket ban on adult content on a platform that has gathered so many creatives working with NSFW themes is undoubtedly going to be a pretty controversial decision for the company.


Social – TechCrunch