shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Media Snapchat Sexting Ring Gets TechCrunch Hot and Bothered

Oh you fancy, huh? Turns out doing PR for Tumblr, despite the site’s numerous recent outages, has its advantages. Katherine Barna, who works in communications for the blogging platform, got the chance to meet President Obama and the first lady at the White House, and she has the Christmas-themed snap to prove it. Wonder how many jealous reblogs this pic will spawn?

(Photo: Tumblr)

(Photo: Tumblr)

Faux Doxx Not long after it launched, Snapchat’s self-destruct feature and popularity with teenagers earned it a bad reputation as “that sexting app.” (The kind of bad rep that makes you popular very quickly.) And yet, a number of tech blogs, including BuzzFeed, Gizmodo, Gawker and Betabeat have pointed out reasons why Snapchat isn’t safe for sexting, including an exploit that lets you save videos without the sender knowing. Early this month, we argued that Snapchat’s real genius is its ephemerality, and that in the age of personal brand curation, teenagers (and even those us not born in the ’90s) want an anti-Instagram. PandoDaily later concurred. Into all this adult squabbling over a teenage craze wades TechCrunch, wagging its finger at a manufactured sexting scare. Who is to blame? The media, of course. With a Perry Mason-ish flourish, TechCrunch reporter Jordan Crook points the finger at a number of bloggers in a section of her post dubbed (dun dun dun da) “The Conspiracy.” “I learned,” says Ms. Crook, “that the former group is predominantly chatting with each other.” This leads our esteemed detective to two conclusions:

The first is that the same folks who serve you a round of tech news with your morning coffee and bagel are also in a Snapchat sexting ring. The second option is that the very same people who have repeatedly assumed that Snapchat is for sexting, and propagated that myth, don’t use Snapchat for sexting at all.

I.e., unless tech reporters own up to sexting each other all day every day, there’s no evidence of sexting. BuzzFeed’s Katie Notopoulos either admits to sending dick pics to Gizmodo’s Sam Biddle, or her conclusions are invalid. (Nick Bilton is written off as allegedly barely using the service.) Unfortunately, TechCrunch made precious little effort to verify basic facts, assuming unverified handles were associated with individual reporters (did we learn nothing from the BuzzFeed vs. Oatmeal battle royale?). TechCrunch also doesn’t make note of the fact that your “top friends” and numbers of Snapchats exchanged are only based on recent activity. Ignore someone for a while and they fall off your list. Besides, there are so few adult normals on the service, who else is a 25-year-old tech reporter supposed to talk to? In Ms. Crook’s case, she might have underestimated their willingness to take that dare:

TECHCRUCNH JUST ACCUSED ME IN BEING A MEMBER OF A BLOG ILLUMINATI SEXTING RING, WHAT HAPPENED 2 HUMAN DECENCY — Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) December 27, 2012 If anyone thinks @katienotopoulos is bluffing about snapchat to advance her career, call her out. She WILL show you her dick. — Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) December 27, 2012

@samfbiddle when you’re workin with the kind of monster hog I got, who doesn’t want to show it off? — Katie Notopoulos (@katienotopoulos) December 27, 2012

Look: just because the founder (who has admitted the service was partially inspired by the sad tale of Anthony Weiner) says he didn’t design Snapchat for sexting doesn’t invalidate the use case. Using that line of reasoning, Facebook was built to bring the world together and not to cyberstalk and data-collect. Sure, nudes likely don’t account for a huge portion of the 50 million snaps per day, but if the arc of civilization has taught us anything, humans will share nude selfies by any means possible. VC Style Though VCs may be considered more put-together than their hoodie-clad engineering counterparts, there’s only so far a boring suit can take you. AHA Life, an online shop that curates “unique lifestyle products from around the world,” chose its most stylish VC, and he’s a New Yorker, natch. Lawrence Lenihan, founder and managing director of FirstMark Capital, appears to be everything Tom Haverford wishes he was, right down to the swag-ass bowtie. Need a $935 smoking jacket, a binge eating disorder or $5,000 Hyperion Turntable? Mr. Lenihan’s got you covered. Mile in Your Shoes Congratulations to fitness freak and Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley for hitting his goal of running 1,000 miles this year. If New York tech falls off the funding cliff, good to know he can always fall back on a career as a personal trainer.

(Photo: Instagram)

(Photo: Instagram)

SMDH Hey, entrepreneurs, consider this a public service announcement warning you not to get cute with your title:

First World Problem Solvers Congratulations, tech industry! This year, you created apps and companies to fix problems we didn’t even know we had, such as “I need a number to validate my existence.” To 2013!