This Week in Apps: OnlyFans bans sexual content, SharePlay delayed, TikTok questioned over biometric data collection – TechCrunch


Welcome again to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch collection that recaps the most recent in cell OS information, cell purposes and the general app financial system.

The app business continues to develop, with a document 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in world client spend in 2020. Customers final 12 months additionally spent 3.5 trillion minutes utilizing apps on Android gadgets alone. And within the U.S., app utilization surged forward of the time spent watching dwell TV. Presently, the common American watches 3.7 hours of dwell TV per day, however now spends 4 hours per day on their cell gadgets.

Apps aren’t only a option to go idle hours — they’re additionally an enormous enterprise. In 2019, mobile-first corporations had a mixed $544 billion valuation, 6.5x greater than these with out a cell focus. In 2020, traders poured $73 billion in capital into cell corporations — a determine that’s up 27% year-over-year.

This Week in Apps affords a option to sustain with this fast-moving business in a single place with the most recent from the world of apps, together with information, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and recommendations about new apps and video games to attempt, too.

Would you like This Week in Apps in your inbox each Saturday? Enroll right here:

OnlyFans to ban sexually specific content material

OnlyFans logo displayed on a phone screen and a website

(Picture Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto through Getty Photographs)

Creator platform OnlyFans is getting out of the porn enterprise. The corporate introduced this week it is going to start to ban any “sexually specific” content material beginning on October 1, 2021 — a choice it claimed would make sure the long-term sustainability of the platform. The information angered a variety of impacted creators who weren’t notified forward of time and who’ve come to depend on OnlyFans as their essential supply of earnings.

Nevertheless, phrase is that OnlyFans was struggling to seek out outdoors traders, regardless of its sizable person base, because of the grownup content material it hosts. Some VC corporations are prohibited from investing in grownup content material companies, whereas others could also be involved over different issues — like how NSFW content material may have restricted curiosity from advertisers and model companions. They could have additionally apprehensive about OnlyFans’ capacity to efficiently limit minors from utilizing the app, in mild of what seems to be soon-to-come elevated rules for on-line companies. Plus, porn corporations face a variety of different points, too. They’ve to repeatedly guarantee they’re not internet hosting unlawful content material like baby intercourse abuse materials, revenge porn or content material from intercourse trafficking victims — the latter which has led to lawsuits at different giant porn corporations.

The information adopted a massive advertising and marketing push for OnlyFans’ porn-free (SFW) app, OFTV, which circulated alongside stories that the corporate was seeking to elevate funds at a $1 billion+ valuation. OnlyFans could not have technically wanted the funding to function its present enterprise — it dealt with greater than $2 billion in gross sales in 2020 and retains 20%. Reasonably, the corporate could have seen there’s extra alternative to cater to the “SFW” creator group, now that it has massive names like Bella Thorne, Cardi B, Tyga, Tyler Posey, Blac Chyna, Bhad Bhabie and others on board.

U.S. lawmakers demand data on TikTok’s plans for biometric knowledge assortment

The TikTok logo is seen on an iPhone 11 Pro max

The TikTok emblem is seen on an iPhone 11 Professional max. Picture Credit: Nur Picture/Getty Photographs

U.S. lawmakers are difficult TikTok on its plans to gather biometric knowledge from its customers. TechCrunch first reported on TikTok’s up to date privateness coverage in June, the place the corporate gave itself permission to gather biometric knowledge within the U.S., together with customers’ “faceprints and voiceprints.” When reached for remark, TikTok couldn’t affirm what product developments necessitated the addition of biometric knowledge to its checklist of disclosures concerning the info it robotically collects from customers, however mentioned it could ask for consent within the case such knowledge assortment practices started.

Earlier this month, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) despatched a letter to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, which mentioned they had been “alarmed” by the change, and demanded to know what info TikTok will probably be gathering and what it plans to do with the information. This wouldn’t be the primary time TikTok received in bother for extreme knowledge assortment. Earlier this 12 months, the corporate paid out $92 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that claimed TikTok had unlawfully collected customers’ biometric knowledge and shared it with third events.

Platforms: Apple

Picture Credit: Apple

  • ⭐️ Apple instructed builders that among the options it introduced as coming in iOS 15 received’t be obtainable at launch. This consists of one of many highlights of the brand new OS, SharePlay, a function that lets folks share music, movies and their display screen over FaceTime calls. Different options that can are available later releases embrace Pockets’s assist for ID playing cards, the App Privateness report and others which have but to make it to beta releases.
  • Apple walked again its controversial Safari adjustments with the iOS 15 beta 6 replace. Apple’s unique redesign had proven the deal with bar on the backside of the display screen, floating atop the web page’s content material. Now the tab bar will seem under the web page’s content material, providing entry to its normal set of buttons as when it was on the high. Customers also can flip off the underside tab bar now and revert to the previous, Single Tab choice that places the deal with bar again on the high as earlier than.
  • In response to criticism over its new CSAM detection expertise, Apple mentioned the model of NeuralHash that was reverse-engineered by a developer, Asuhariet Ygvar, was a generic model, and never the entire model that can roll out later this 12 months.
  • The Verge dug by way of over 800 paperwork from the Apple-Epic trial to seek out the very best emails, which included filth on a variety of different corporations like Netflix, Hulu, Sony, Google, Nintendo, Valve, Microsoft, Amazon and extra. These supplied particulars on issues like Netflix’s secret association to pay solely 15% of income, how Microsoft additionally quietly affords a method for some corporations to bypass its full lower, how Apple initially noticed the Amazon Appstore as a menace and extra.

Platforms: Google

  • A beta model of the Android Accessibility Suite app (12.0.0) which rolled out with the fourth Android beta launch added one thing referred to as “Digicam Switches” to Swap Entry, a toolset that allows you to work together along with your machine with out utilizing the touchscreen. Digicam Switches permits customers to navigate their telephone and use its options by making face gestures, like a smile, open mouth, raised eyebrows and extra.
  • Google introduced its Pixel 5a with 5G, the most recent A-series Pixel telephone, will arrive on August 27, providing IP67 water resistance, long-lasting Adaptive Battery, Pixel’s dual-camera system and extra, for $449. The telephone makes Google’s default Android expertise obtainable at a cheaper price level than the quickly to reach Pixel 6.
  • An unredacted criticism from the Apple-Epic trial revealed that Google had quietly paid builders tons of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} through a program referred to as “Mission Hug,” (later “Apps and Video games Velocity Program”) to maintain their video games on the Play Retailer. Epic alleges Google launched this system to maintain builders from following its lead by transferring their video games outdoors the shop.

Augmented Actuality

  • Snap on Thursday introduced it employed its first VP of Platform Partnerships to guide AR, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis (“KP”). The brand new exec will lead Snap’s efforts to onboard companions, together with particular person AR creators constructing through Lens Studio in addition to giant corporations that incorporate Snapchat’s digital camera and AR expertise (Digicam Package) into their apps. KP will take part September, and report back to Ben Schwerin, SVP of Content material and Partnerships.


  • Crypto trade Coinbase will enter the Japanese market by way of a brand new partnership with Japanese monetary large Mitsubishi UFJ Monetary Group (MUFG). The corporate mentioned it plans to launch different localized variations of its present world companies sooner or later.


Picture Credit: Fb

  • Fb launched a “take a look at” of Fb Reels within the U.S. on iOS and Android. The brand new function brings the Reels expertise to Fb, permitting customers to create and share short-form video content material immediately inside the Information Feed or inside Fb Teams. Instagram Reels creators also can now decide in to have their Reels featured on customers’ Information Feed. The corporate is closely investing its its battle with TikTok, even pledging that some portion of its $1 billion creator fund will go towards Fb Reels.
  • Twitter’s redesign of its web site and app was met with a number of backlash from customers and accessibility consultants alike. The corporate decisions add extra visible distinction between varied parts and should have helped these with low imaginative and prescient. However for others, the distinction is inflicting pressure and complications. Consultants imagine accessibility isn’t a one-size suits all scenario, and Twitter ought to have launched instruments that allowed folks to regulate their settings to their very own wants.
  • The professional-Trump Twitter different Gettr’s lack of moderation has allowed customers to share baby exploitation photos, in keeping with analysis from the Stanford Web Observatory’s Cyber Coverage Middle.
  • Pinterest rolled out a brand new set of extra inclusive search filters that enable folks to seek out kinds for various kinds of hair textures — like coily, curly, wavy, straight, in addition to shaved or bald and protecting kinds. 


  • Photoshop for iPad gained new picture correction instruments, together with the Therapeutic Brush and Magic Wand, and added assist for connecting an iPad to exterior displays through HDMI or USB-C. The corporate additionally launched a Photoshop Beta program on the desktop.


  • WhatsApp is being adopted by the Taliban to unfold its message throughout Afghanistan, regardless of being on Fb’s checklist of banned organizations. The corporate says it’s proactively eradicating Taliban content material — however which may be troublesome to do since WhatsApp’s E2E encryption means it may possibly’t learn folks’s texts. This week, Fb shut down a Taliban helpline in Kabul, which allowed civilians to report violence and looting, however some critics mentioned this wasn’t really serving to native Afghans, because the group was now in impact governing the area.
  • WhatsApp can be testing a brand new function that can present a big preview when sharing hyperlinks, which some suspect could launch across the time when the app provides the power to have the identical account working on a number of gadgets.

Streaming & Entertainment

  • Netflix introduced it’s including spatial audio assist on iPhone and iPad on iOS 14, becoming a member of different streamers like HBO Max, Disney+ and Peacock which have already pledged to assist the brand new expertise. The function will probably be obtainable to toggle on and off within the Management Middle, when it arrives.
  • Blockchain-powered streaming music service Audius partnered with TikTok to permit artists to add their songs utilizing TikTok’s new SoundKit in only one click on.
  • YouTube’s cell app added new performance that enables customers to browse a video’s chapters, and leap into the chapter they need immediately from the search web page.
  • Spotify’s Anchor app now permits customers in world markets to document “Music + Speak” podcasts, the place customers can mix spoken phrase recordings with any monitor from Spotify’s library of 70 million songs for a radio DJ-like expertise.
  • Podcasters are complaining that Apple’s revamped Podcasts platform isn’t working properly, stories The Verge. Podcasts Join has been buggy, and sports activities a complicated interface that has led to critical person errors (like total exhibits being archived). And listeners have complained about syncing issues and podcasts they already heard flooding their libraries.


  • Tinder introduced a brand new function that can enable customers to voluntarily confirm their id on the platform, which is able to enable the corporate to cross-reference intercourse offender registry knowledge. Beforehand, Tinder would solely verify this database when a person signed up for a paid subscription with a bank card.


Picture Supply: The Pokémon Firm

  • Pokémon Unite will come to iOS and Android on September 22, The Pokémon Firm introduced throughout a livestream this week. The strategic battle sport first launched on Nintendo Swap in late July.
  • Developer Konami introduced a brand new sport, Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, which is able to come solely to Apple Arcade. The sport is described as a “full-fledged side-scrolling motion sport,” that includes a roster of iconic characters from the traditional sport collection. The corporate final 12 months launched one other model of Castelvania on the App Retailer and Google Play.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle has now surpassed $Three billion in participant spending since its 2015 debut, reported Sensor Tower. The sport from Bandai Namco took 20 months to succeed in the determine after hitting the $2 billion milestone in 2019. The brand new landmark sees the sport becoming a member of different top-grossers, together with Conflict Royale, Lineage M and others.
  • Sensor Tower’s cell gaming promoting report revealed knowledge on high advert networks within the cell gaming market, and their market share. It additionally discovered puzzle video games had been among the many high advertisers on gaming-focused networks like Chartboost, Unity, IronSource and Vungle. On much less game-focused networks, mid-core video games had been high titles, like Name of Responsibility: Cell and Prime Struggle. 

Picture Credit: Sensor Tower

Well being & Health

  • Apple is reportedly scaling again HealthHabit, an inside app for Apple staff that allowed them to trace health objectives, discuss to clinicians and coaches at AC Wellness (a medical doctors’ group Apple works with) and handle hypertension. In response to Insider, 50 staff had been tasked to work on the undertaking.
  • Samsung launched a brand new product for Galaxy smartphones in partnership with healthcare nonprofit The Commons Mission, that enables U.S. customers to save lots of a verifiable copy of their vaccination card within the Samsung Pay digital pockets.

Picture Credit: Samsung


Authorities & Coverage

  • China cited 43 apps, together with Tencent’s WeChat and an e-reader from Alibaba, for illegally transferring person knowledge. The regulator mentioned the apps had transferred customers location knowledge and make contact with checklist and harassed them with pop-up home windows. The apps have till August 25 to make adjustments earlier than being punished.

Safety & Privateness

  • A VICE report reveals an enchanting story a couple of jailbreaking group member who had served as a double agent by spying for Apple’s safety staff. Andrey Shumeyko, whose on-line handles included JVHResearch and YRH04E, would promote leaked apps, manuals and stolen gadgets on Twitter and Discord. He would then inform Apple issues like which Apple staff had been leaking confidential data, which reporters would discuss to leakers, who bought stolen iPhone prototypes and extra. Shumeyko determined to share his story as a result of he felt Apple took benefit of him and didn’t compensate him for the work.

💰 South Korea’s GS Retail Co. Ltd will purchase Supply Hero’s meals supply app Yogiyo in a deal valued at 800 billion received ($685 million USD). Yogiyo is the second-largest meals supply app in South Korea, with a 25% market share.

💰 Gaming platform Roblox acquired a Discord rival, Guilded, which permits customers to have textual content and voice conversations, arrange communities round occasions and calendars and extra. Deal phrases weren’t disclosed. Guilded raised $10.2 million in enterprise funding. Roblox’s inventory fell by 7% after the corporate reported earnings this week, after failing to fulfill Wall Road expectations.

💰 Journey app Hopper raised $175 million in a Collection G spherical of funding led by GPI Capital, valuing the enterprise at over $3.5 billion. The corporate raised an identical quantity simply final 12 months, however is now benefiting from renewed progress in journey following COVID-19 vaccinations and lifting restrictions.

💰 Indian quiz app maker Zupee raised $30 million in a Collection B spherical of funding led by Silicon Valley-based WestCap Group and Tomales Bay Capital. The spherical values the corporate at $500 million, up 5x from final 12 months.

💰 Danggeun Market, the writer of South Korea’s hyperlocal group app Karrot, raised $162 million in a Collection D spherical of funding led by DST World. The spherical values the enterprise at $2.7 billion and will probably be used to assist the corporate launch its personal funds platform, Karrot Pay.

💰 Bangalore-based fintech app Smallcase raised $40 million in Collection C funding spherical led by Faering Capital and Premji Make investments, with participation from present traders, in addition to Amazon. The Robinhood-like app has over Three million customers who’re transacting about $2.5 billion per 12 months.

💰 Social listening app Earbuds raised $Three million in Collection A funding led by Ecliptic Capital. Based by NFL star Jason Fox, the app lets anybody share their favourite playlists, livestream music like a DJ or touch upon others’ music picks.

💰 U.S. neobank app One raised $40 million in Collection B funding led by Progressive Funding Firm (the insurance coverage large’s funding arm), bringing its whole elevate to this point to $66 million. The app affords all-in-one banking companies and budgeting instruments geared toward middle-income households who handle their funds on a weekly foundation.

Public Markets

📈 Indian journey reserving app ixigo is seeking to elevate Rs 1,600 crore in its preliminary public providing, The Financial Occasions reported this week.

📉 Buying and selling app Robinhood dissatisfied in its first quarterly earnings as a publicly traded firm, when it posted a web lack of $502 million, or $2.16 per share, bigger than Wall Road forecasts. This overshadowed its beat on income ($565 million versus $521.eight million anticipated) and its greater than doubling of MAUs to 21.Three million in Q2.  Additionally of be aware, the corporate mentioned dogecoin made up 62% of its crypto income in Q2.

Polycam (replace)

Picture Credit: Polycam

3D scanning software program maker Polycam launched a brand new 3D seize device, Picture Mode, that enables iPhone and iPad customers to seize professional-quality 3D fashions with simply an iPhone. Whereas the app’s scanner earlier than had required the usage of the lidar sensor constructed into newer gadgets just like the iPhone 12 Professional and iPad Professional fashions, the brand new Picture Mode function makes use of simply an iPhone’s digital camera. The ensuing 3D property are prepared to make use of in quite a lot of purposes, together with 3D artwork, gaming, AR/VR and e-commerce. Knowledge export is out there in over a dozen file codecs, together with .obj, .gtlf, .usdz and others. The app is a free obtain on the App Retailer, with in-app purchases obtainable.

Jiobit (replace)

Jiobit, the monitoring dongle acquired by household security and communication app Life360, this week partnered with emergency response service Noonlight to supply Jiobit Defend, a premium add-on that gives Jiobit customers entry to an SOS Mode and Alert Button that work with the Jiobit cell app. SOS Mode may be triggered by a toddler’s caregiver once they detect — by way of notifications from the Jiobit app — {that a} beloved one could also be in peril. They will then attain Noonlight’s dispatcher who can facilitate a name to 911 and supply the precise location of the individual carrying the Jiobit machine, in addition to share different particulars, like allergic reactions or particular wants, for instance.

When your app redesign goes improper…

Picture Credit:

Outstanding App Retailer critic Kosta Eleftheriou shut down his FlickType iOS app this week after too many frustrations with App Evaluate. He cited rejections that incorrectly argued that his app required extra entry than it did — one thing he had efficiently appealed and overturned years in the past. Tried follow-ups with Apple had been ignored, he mentioned. 

Picture Credit:

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