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Salesforce CEO hates Section 230, but his lawyers sure don’t

TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2019 - Day 2 Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, an outspoken tech industry figure who is apparently not afraid to criticize other business leaders, spent all week bashing Facebook over the company’s refusal to moderate certain content on its platform, like political ads that contain lies. He’s on tour promoting his book, Trailblazer, and is understandably generating headlines and free promotion as a result. But one peculiar call to action that Benioff voiced two days ago on Twitter, in favor of abolishing the oft-misunderstood Section 230, may not have been all that well thought out.

That’s because, according to BuzzFeed News, Salesforce lawyers are using Section 230 as a defense in not one, but seven lawsuits involving the website Backpage, to which...

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Motorola may add flashy Moto E6 Play to its budget lineup, according t

Image: Mobielkopen

Motorola’s Moto E6 line is all about compromises for the sake of affordability. As a budget Android handset, you’re sacrificing high-end features, build quality, and oftentimes aesthetics for something cheap and functional. But according to new renders acquired by German website Mobielkopen, the E6 line may be getting a slick visual update in the form of a proper E6 Play variant of the phone.

The $149 standard E6 came out this summer as a budget Android phone on the cheaper end, just below the Moto G7 Play. But unlike last year’s E5, which came in a standard E5 and then Play and Plus variants, the E6 was the only model available until the addition of the E6 Plus back in September, which was only made available for European and South...

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Kik Messenger will live on after Kik sells it to focus on cryptocurren

Image: Kik

Last month, Kik announced that it would be shutting down the once-popular Kik Messenger app to focus on selling its Kin cryptocurrency, and fighting an SEC battle about the Kin cryptocurrency. But today, in a surprise, it was announced on the Kik blog that Kik Messenger will apparently live on, as it has been purchased by MediaLab, a holding company that owns companies like anonymous-messaging app Whisper and mixtape-sharing service DatPiff.

In the blog post, MediaLab committed to continuing to develop Kik Messenger, saying that it will spend “the next few months” on making the app “faster, more reliable, [and] less buggy.” However, MediaLab also said that, to help pay for the expenses of maintaining the messaging service, it will be...

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You can now subscribe to Twitch streamers on iOS, if you pay the Apple

You can now subscribe to your favorite streamers from your iOS device, provided you have an iOS device and have updated the Twitch app. Truly we are living in the future.

Twitch announced the news at this year’s TwitchCon in San Diego, but the feature rolled out today. It’s a little different than your usual Twitch subscribing experience, and yes, it is Apple’s fault. The reason it’s taken this long for Twitch to offer subs through its iOS app is because Apple takes a 30 percent cut of any digital subscriptions or media sold through apps on its App Store. So most companies — like Amazon, which owns Twitch — just don’t sell media through iOS apps.

To subscribe on iOS, you have to buy what Twitch is calling “iOS Sub Tokens,” which cost...

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Blizzard is banning people in its Hearthstone Twitch chat for pro-Hong

Mobile games

In February, Blizzard announced a new Hearthstone e-sports program, called the Masters Tour, to pit the game’s best players against each other for a chance to win the acclaim of the internet (and potentially a lot of money). A European leg of the tour is currently happening in Bucharest, and you can catch the action over on Twitch.

But there’s a catch: anybody who posts anything pro-Hong Kong seems to be earning an automatic 24-hour chat ban, as reported by Dot Esports. (On Twitch, a chat ban means that you can’t post anything in a channel’s chat for a certain amount of time; offenses and ban lengths are both specified by moderators.)

That said, the bans seem inconsistent. On Friday afternoon, over at the @PlayHearthstone Twitch...

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AOC and Ted Cruz call out Apple for dropping Hong Kong app in joint le

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Holds Public Housing Town Hall In The Bronx Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In two letters, a bipartisan group of lawmakers sharply criticized Apple and Blizzard over their recent actions in China.

The first, addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, expresses “strong concern” over the company’s decision to remove an app used by Hong Kong protesters from its App Store. The app, called HKMap, tracked police presence and was used by pro-democracy activists, but was removed earlier this month after Apple claimed it was being used for criminal activity. The app’s developers said there was no evidence of that, and Apple has been slammed for the move.

“Cases like these raise real concern about whether Apple and other large US corporate entities will bow to growing Chinese demands rather...

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Wing’s delivery drones take flight for the first time in Virginia

Wing’s drone delivery service is now live in Virginia. The Alphabet subsidiary is now delivering snacks and health care products to residents of Christiansburg, Virginia, after receiving approval from the government and teaming up with major players like FedEx and Walgreens. Wing says it’s the first commercial drone delivery service in the US.

Earlier this year, Wing became one of the first drone operators to be certified as a commercial air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration, allowing it to deliver goods to people who may live miles away and not in the drone operator’s line of sight.

A video posted by Wing shows an elderly couple and a family with young children using their smartphones to select items for delivery. The...

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There’s a new Banana Phone, and it can play ‘Bananaphone’

It’s new tech season. New iPhones, new Pixels, new Surface devices, new Echos... and a new Banana Phone.

Now, before I tell you more about the biggest tech gadget of 2019, I want to be perfectly clear that the Banana Phone isn’t a phone — it’s a Bluetooth headset that connects to your phone, and you can use it to take calls. But it looks like a banana!

Image: Banana Phone

And soon, it’s getting a refresh. Earlier today, I spotted FCC filings for an updated model of the Banana Phone, so I called up Brian Brunsing, president of Banana Phone LLC, to learn more about what’s new. Turns out, it has some meaningful updates.

The biggest new feature: the new Banana Phone will apparently be able to play music over a speaker...

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Google can’t even get full RCS support for the Pixel 4

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google’s Pixel 4 won’t launch with support for RCS messaging on some of the biggest US networks. Verizon and T-Mobile both said on Twitter that the phone was not supported, as spotted by 9to5Google, and AT&T has yet to say whether it’ll be supported. Only Sprint has said, in an email to The Verge, that it will support RCS, which adds features like read receipts, typing indicators, and higher-quality attachments to the standard Android Messages app.

The rollout of RCS messaging has been a complete mess. The standard, which is supposed to replace the basic SMS and MMS messaging that’s been around for as long as we’ve used smartphones, has been slated to roll out for years now. Its biggest push came in 2018, when Google settled on RCS as...

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Netflix’s Living With Yourself fuses sitcom humor with high-tech anx

Photo: Eric Liebowitz / Netflix

Netflix’s Living with Yourself, which launches on October 18th, is in many ways a standard sitcom. Ant-Man’s Paul Rudd stars as Miles Eliot, a man whose marriage and career are floundering as he faces the general malaise of approaching middle age. The catch is that he attempts to get out of his familiar rut by cloning himself.

To be fair, that wasn’t actually his goal. Miles gets a tip from zero-turned-office-hero co-worker Dan (Desmin Borges of You’re the Worst) about a highly exclusive spa that gives its clients’ DNA a detox and lets them live up to their full potential. Desperate enough to pay Top Happy Spa’s $50,000 fee, Miles lies down in a treatment chair and wakes up as a new man, filled with a zest for life that has him sticking...

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