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

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

Welcome reduction to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch collection that recaps the most up-to-date in cellular OS information, cellular applications and the overall app economy.

The app industry continues to grow, with a file 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in international user use in 2020. Patrons remaining yr also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app utilization surged sooner than the time spent watching live TV. At indicate, the moderate American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, nevertheless now spends four hours per day on their cellular devices.

Early Newspaper

Apps aren’t appropriate a vogue to pass inactive hours — they’re also a mountainous business. In 2019, cellular-first firms had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x greater than these with out a cellular heart of attention. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into cellular firms — a determine that’s up 27% yr-over-yr.

This Week in Apps provides a vogue to maintain up with this instant-moving industry in one field with the most up-to-date from the world of apps, including information, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and solutions about recent apps and games to interact a sight at, too.

Attain you desire This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Effect in here: techcrunch.com/newsletters

OnlyFans to ban sexually explicit train

OnlyFans logo displayed on a phone screen and a website

(Characterize Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto by project of Getty Photos)

Creator platform OnlyFans is getting out of the porn business. The corporate introduced this week it’s going to begin to limit any “sexually explicit” train starting on October 1, 2021 — a determination it claimed would originate certain the lengthy-time period sustainability of the platform. The information angered a preference of impacted creators who weren’t notified sooner than time and who’ve reach to depend on OnlyFans as their main source of income.

Nonetheless, be conscious is that OnlyFans used to be struggling to find inaugurate air investors, despite its plentiful user sinful, attributable to the grownup train it hosts. Some VC firms are prohibited from investing in grownup train businesses, whereas others would per chance well moreover just be troubled over other matters — devour how NSFW train would per chance well moreover maintain restricted interest from advertisers and stamp partners. They would moreover just maintain also disquieted about OnlyFans’ skill to successfully restrict minors from using the app, in light of what appears to be soon-to-reach increased rules for online businesses. Plus, porn firms face a preference of different considerations, too. They maintain got to continually originate certain they’re no longer hosting illegal train devour child intercourse abuse materials, revenge porn or train from intercourse trafficking victims — the latter which has resulted in lawsuits at other sizable porn firms.

The information adopted a mountainous marketing push for OnlyFans’ porn-free (SFW) app, OFTV, which circulated alongside experiences that the company used to be looking to carry funds at a $1 billion+ valuation. OnlyFans would per chance well moreover just no longer maintain technically primary the funding to intention its unique business — it handled bigger than $2 billion in sales in 2020 and retains 20%. Reasonably, the company would per chance well moreover just maintain considered there’s extra opportunity to cater to the “SFW” creator community, now that it has mountainous names devour Bella Thorne, Cardi B, Tyga, Tyler Posey, Blac Chyna, Bhad Bhabie and others on board.

U.S. lawmakers inquire info on TikTok’s plans for biometric data collection

The TikTok logo is seen on an iPhone 11 Pro max

The TikTok logo is considered on an iPhone 11 Pro max. Image Credits: Nur Characterize/Getty Photos

U.S. lawmakers are challenging TikTok on its plans to procure biometric data from its customers. TechCrunch first reported on TikTok’s updated privateness policy in June, where the company gave itself permission to procure biometric data in the U.S., including customers’ “faceprints and voiceprints.” When reached for comment, TikTok would per chance well moreover no longer verify what product trends necessitated the addition of biometric data to its checklist of disclosures about the information it routinely collects from customers, nevertheless acknowledged it would ask for consent in the case such data collection practices began.

Earlier this month, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, which acknowledged they had been “anxious” by the commerce, and demanded to clutch what information TikTok will most definitely be collecting and what it plans to attain with the data. This wouldn’t be the main time TikTok obtained in trouble for excessive data collection. Earlier this yr, the company paid out $92 million to determine a class-motion lawsuit that claimed TikTok had unlawfully nonetheless customers’ biometric data and shared it with third parties.

Platforms: Apple

Image Credits: Apple

  • ⭐️ Apple instructed builders that about a of the parts it introduced as coming in iOS 15 won’t be on hand at inaugurate. This includes one in every of the highlights of the recent OS, SharePlay, a feature that lets americans share tune, movies and their cover cover over FaceTime calls. Other parts that will reach in later releases include Pockets’s increase for ID cards, the App Privacy narrative and others that maintain but to originate it to beta releases.
  • Apple walked reduction its controversial Safari changes with the iOS 15 beta 6 change. Apple’s original redesign had confirmed the handle bar on the bottom of the cover cover, floating atop the online page’s train. Now the tab bar will seem below the online page’s train, offering receive entry to to its frequent trouble of buttons as when it used to be on the tip. Users would per chance well moreover moreover flip off the bottom tab bar now and revert to the same outdated, Single Tab option that places the handle bar reduction on the tip as sooner than.
  • In response to criticism over its recent CSAM detection technology, Apple acknowledged the version of NeuralHash that used to be reverse-engineered by a developer, Asuhariet Ygvar, used to be a generic version, and no longer all the version that will roll out later this yr.
  • The Verge dug thru over 800 documents from the Apple-Epic trial to find the correct emails, which included grime on a preference of different firms devour Netflix, Hulu, Sony, Google, Nintendo, Valve, Microsoft, Amazon and further. These equipped primary points on things devour Netflix’s secret plan to pay handiest 15% of income, how Microsoft also quietly provides a vogue for some firms to bypass its full minimize, how Apple initially saw the Amazon Appstore as a threat and further.

Platforms: Google

  • A beta version of the Android Accessibility Suite app (12.0.0) which rolled out with the fourth Android beta liberate added something known as “Digicam Switches” to Change Get entry to, a toolset that permits you to interact with your draw with out using the touchscreen. Digicam Switches permits customers to navigate their cellular phone and train its parts by making face gestures, devour a smile, inaugurate mouth, raised eyebrows and further.
  • Google introduced its Pixel 5a with 5G, the most up-to-date A-collection Pixel cellular phone, will come on August 27, offering IP67 water resistance, lengthy-lasting Adaptive Battery, Pixel’s dual-camera system and further, for $449. The cellular phone makes Google’s default Android journey on hand at a lower trace point than the soon to come Pixel 6.
  • An unredacted complaint from the Apple-Epic trial revealed that Google had quietly paid builders a whole bunch of hundreds and hundreds of bucks by project of a program identified as “Project Hug,” (later “Apps and Games Velocity Program”) to maintain their games on the Play Retailer. Epic alleges Google launched the program to maintain builders from following its lead by moving their games inaugurate air the retailer.

Augmented Actuality

  • Snap on Thursday introduced it hired its first VP of Platform Partnerships to handbook AR, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis (“KP”). The recent exec will lead Snap’s efforts to onboard partners, including individual AR creators building by project of Lens Studio in addition to sizable firms that incorporate Snapchat’s camera and AR technology (Digicam Equipment) into their apps. KP will join in September, and narrative to Ben Schwerin, SVP of Bellow and Partnerships.


  • Crypto commerce Coinbase will enter the Jap market thru a brand recent partnership with Jap financial broad Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Community (MUFG). The corporate acknowledged it plans to inaugurate other localized versions of its existing international products and services in the future.


Image Credits: Fb

  • Fb launched a “take a look at” of Fb Reels in the U.S. on iOS and Android. The recent feature brings the Reels journey to Fb, allowing customers to construct and share short-originate video train instantly within the Information Feed or within Fb Groups. Instagram Reels creators would per chance well moreover moreover now opt in to maintain their Reels featured on customers’ Information Feed. The corporate is heavily investing its its combat with TikTok, even pledging that some share of its $1 billion creator fund will lumber toward Fb Reels.
  • Twitter’s redesign of its online web train and app used to be met with quite a bit of backlash from customers and accessibility consultants alike. The corporate alternate choices add extra visible distinction between quite a bit of aspects and can just maintain helped these with low vision. But for others, the distinction is causing strain and complications. Experts imagine accessibility isn’t a one-size fits all anguish, and Twitter must maintain introduced instruments that allowed americans to alter their settings to their very maintain wants.
  • Twitter also tapped crypto developer Jay Graber to transfer the company’s “bluesky” mission, which goals to construct a decentralized social media protocol on which a preference of networks, including Twitter, will finally intention. The mission will intention independently from Twitter, nevertheless is funded by Twitter and bustle by Twitter workers. In other places, Twitter rolled out a brand recent option that would per chance well allow customers to narrative misinformation.
  • Twitter added Areas increase to its API, allowing builders to attract Areas discovery instruments, and later, instruments for hosts. 
  • YikYak returned, below recent administration. The as soon as-neatly-liked anonymous social community relaunched on iOS this week below recent anonymous possession from americans that clearly hope a attain-over will consequence in quite a bit of results. The original version of the app shut down in 2017 after being tormented by cyberbullying.
  • The professional-Trump Twitter substitute Gettr’s lack of moderation has allowed customers to share child exploitation images, according to analyze from the Stanford Internet Observatory’s Cyber Coverage Middle.
  • Pinterest rolled out a brand recent trouble of extra inclusive search filters that allow americans to find kinds for quite a bit of kinds of hair textures — devour coily, curly, wavy, straight, in addition to shaved or bald and protective kinds. 


  • Photoshop for iPad gained recent picture correction instruments, including the Healing Brush and Magic Wand, and added increase for connecting an iPad to exterior monitors by project of HDMI or USB-C. The corporate also launched a Photoshop Beta program on the desktop.


  • WhatsApp is being adopted by the Taliban to unfold its message all the plan thru Afghanistan, despite being on Fb’s checklist of banned organizations. The corporate says it’s proactively removing Taliban train — nevertheless that will most definitely be demanding to attain since WhatsApp’s E2E encryption methodology it’s going to’t read americans’s texts. This week, Fb shut down a Taliban helpline in Kabul, which allowed civilians to narrative violence and looting, nevertheless some critics acknowledged this wasn’t in fact helping local Afghans, because the group used to be now in enact governing the trouble.
  • WhatsApp is also testing a brand recent feature that will sing their non-public praises a sizable preview when sharing links, which some suspect would per chance well moreover just inaugurate around the time when the app provides the power to maintain the same story running on a pair of devices.

Streaming & Entertainment

  • Netflix introduced it’s adding spatial audio increase on iPhone and iPad on iOS 14, joining other streamers devour HBO Max, Disney+ and Peacock that maintain already pledged to enhance the recent technology. The feature will most definitely be on hand to toggle on and off in the Adjust Middle, when it arrives.
  • Blockchain-powered streaming tune carrier Audius partnered with TikTok to permit artists with the intention to add their songs using TikTok’s recent SoundKit in appropriate one click on.
  • YouTube’s cellular app added recent functionality that allows customers to browse a video’s chapters, and jump into the chapter they wish instantly from the search web train.
  • Spotify’s Anchor app now permits customers in international markets to file “Song + Focus on” podcasts, where customers can combine spoken be conscious recordings with any monitor from Spotify’s library of 70 million songs for a radio DJ-devour journey.
  • Podcasters are complaining that Apple’s revamped Podcasts platform is no longer working successfully, experiences The Verge. Podcasts Connect has been buggy, and sports a confusing interface that has resulted in well-known user errors (devour whole shows being archived). And listeners maintain complained about syncing considerations and podcasts they already heard flooding their libraries.


  • Tinder introduced a brand recent feature that will allow customers to voluntarily verify their identity on the platform, which is ready to permit the company to heinous-reference intercourse perpetrator registry data. Beforehand, Tinder would handiest verify this database when a user signed up for a paid subscription with a credit card.


Image Source: The Pokémon Firm

  • Pokémon Unite will reach to iOS and Android on September 22, The Pokémon Firm introduced during a livestream this week. The strategic combat game first launched on Nintendo Change in slack July.
  • Developer Konami introduced a brand recent game, Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, which is ready to reach completely to Apple Arcade. The game is described as a “full-fledged aspect-scrolling motion game,” featuring a roster of iconic characters from the classic game collection. The corporate remaining yr released some other version of Castelvania on the App Retailer and Google Play.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Wrestle has now surpassed $3 billion in participant spending since its 2015 debut, reported Sensor Tower. The game from Bandai Namco took 20 months to be triumphant in the determine after hitting the $2 billion milestone in 2019. The recent landmark sees the game joining other prime-grossers, including Clash Royale, Lineage M and others.
  • Sensor Tower’s cellular gaming advertising narrative revealed data on prime advert networks in the cellular gaming market, and their market share. It also discovered puzzle games had been among the tip advertisers on gaming-centered networks devour Chartboost, Cohesion, IronSource and Vungle. On much less game-centered networks, mid-core games had been prime titles, devour Call of Responsibility: Mobile and Top Battle. 

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

Effectively being & Effectively being

  • Apple is reportedly scaling reduction HealthHabit, an internal app for Apple workers that allowed them to trace fitness goals, discuss about with clinicians and coaches at AC Wellness (a docs’ group Apple works with) and trouble up hypertension. According to Insider, 50 workers had been tasked to work on the mission.
  • Samsung launched a brand recent product for Galaxy smartphones in partnership with healthcare nonprofit The Commons Project, that allows U.S. customers to construct a verifiable replica of their vaccination card in the Samsung Pay digital pockets.

Image Credits: Samsung


Government & Coverage

  • China cited 43 apps, including Tencent’s WeChat and an e-reader from Alibaba, for illegally transferring user data. The regulator acknowledged the apps had transferred customers field data and name checklist and careworn them with pop-up windows. The apps maintain except August 25 to originate changes sooner than being punished.

Security & Privacy

  • A VICE narrative finds a fascinating story about a jailbreaking community member who had served as a double agent by spying for Apple’s security crew. Andrey Shumeyko, whose online handles included JVHResearch and YRH04E, would advertise leaked apps, manuals and stolen devices on Twitter and Discord. He would then inform Apple things devour which Apple workers had been leaking confidential info, which journalists would discuss about with leakers, who sold stolen iPhone prototypes and further. Shumeyko made up our minds to share his story because he felt Apple took good thing about him and didn’t compensate him for the work.

💰 South Korea’s GS Retail Co. Ltd will accumulate Offer Hero’s meals birth app Yogiyo in a deal valued at 800 billion won ($685 million USD). Yogiyo is the 2d-largest meals birth app in South Korea, with a 25% market share.

💰 Gaming platform Roblox purchased a Discord rival, Guilded, which permits customers to maintain textual train and suppose conversations, trouble up communities around occasions and calendars and further. Deal phrases weren’t disclosed. Guilded raised $10.2 million in mission funding. Roblox’s inventory fell by 7% after the company reported earnings this week, after failing to meet Wall Facet road expectations.

💰 Hurry app Hopper raised $175 million in a Series G spherical of funding led by GPI Capital, valuing the business at over $3.5 billion. The corporate raised a same quantity appropriate remaining yr, nevertheless is now benefiting from renewed increase in commute following COVID-19 vaccinations and lifting restrictions.

💰 Indian quiz app maker Zupee raised $30 million in a Series B spherical of funding led by Silicon Valley-basically based WestCap Community and Tomales Bay Capital. The spherical values the company at $500 million, up 5x from remaining yr.

💰 Danggeun Market, the creator of South Korea’s hyperlocal community app Karrot, raised $162 million in a Series D spherical of funding led by DST International. The spherical values the business at $2.7 billion and can just be ancient to befriend the company inaugurate its maintain payments platform, Karrot Pay.

💰 Bangalore-basically based fintech app Smallcase raised $40 million in Series C funding spherical led by Faering Capital and Premji Invest, with participation from existing investors, in addition to Amazon. The Robinhood-devour app has over 3 million customers who are transacting about $2.5 billion per yr.

💰 Social listening app Earbuds raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Ecliptic Capital. Based by NFL broad identify Jason Fox, the app lets somebody share their favourite playlists, livestream tune devour a DJ or comment on others’ tune picks.

💰 U.S. neobank app One raised $40 million in Series B funding led by Revolutionary Investment Firm (the insurance broad’s investment arm), bringing its whole elevate to this point to $66 million. The app provides all-in-one banking products and services and budgeting instruments geared toward heart-income households who trouble up their finances on a weekly basis.

Public Markets

📈 Indian commute booking app ixigo is looking to elevate Rs 1,600 crore in its initial public offering, The Financial Times reported this week.

📉 Trading app Robinhood disappointed in its first quarterly earnings as a publicly traded company, when it posted a procure lack of $502 million, or $2.16 per share, greater than Wall Facet road forecasts. This overshadowed its beat on income ($565 million versus $521.8 million expected) and its bigger than doubling of MAUs to 21.3 million in Q2.  Also of point to, the company acknowledged dogecoin made up 62% of its crypto income in Q2.

Polycam (change)

Image Credits: Polycam

3D scanning draw maker Polycam launched a brand recent 3D interact tool, Characterize Mode, that allows iPhone and iPad customers to interact professional-quality 3D units with appropriate an iPhone. Whereas the app’s scanner sooner than had required the utilization of the lidar sensor built into newer devices devour the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro units, the recent Characterize Mode feature makes train of appropriate an iPhone’s camera. The resulting 3D belongings are ready to train in a unfold of applications, including 3D art, gaming, AR/VR and e-commerce. Data export is on hand in over a dozen file formats, including .obj, .gtlf, .usdz and others. The app is a free download on the App Retailer, with in-app purchases on hand.

Jiobit (change)

Jiobit, the tracking dongle purchased by household security and dialog app Lifestyles360, this week partnered with emergency response carrier Noonlight to present Jiobit Offer protection to, a top rate add-on that provides Jiobit customers receive entry to to an SOS Mode and Alert Button that work with the Jiobit cellular app. SOS Mode would per chance well moreover moreover be triggered by a baby’s caregiver after they detect — thru notifications from the Jiobit app — that a loved one would per chance well moreover just be in hazard. They’ll then reach Noonlight’s dispatcher who can facilitate a name to 911 and present the particular field of the individual wearing the Jiobit draw, in addition to share other primary points, devour hypersensitive reactions or particular wants, as an illustration.

When your app redesign goes inferior…

Image Credits: Twitter.com

Prominent App Retailer critic Kosta Eleftheriou shut down his FlickType iOS app this week after too many frustrations with App Review. He cited rejections that incorrectly argued that his app required extra receive entry to than it did — something he had successfully appealed and overturned years in the past. Tried train-usawith Apple had been missed, he acknowledged. 

Image Credits: Twitter.com

Anybody maintain app tips?

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