The Corporate Metaverse Can’t Compete

November 1, 2022

I recently spent part of my afternoon throwing giant Wendy’s Baconators at a basketball hoop, and no one was there to see it. When I entered the Buck BiscuitDome—a low-poly stadium shaped like a giant burger, one of the many mostly barren “worlds” to visit in Meta’s Horizon Worlds—and saw that no one was there, I wasn’t surprised. Recent reports revealed that Meta is bleeding users by the hundreds of thousands, and that the company can’t even get its own employees to hang out in its virtual reality metaverse. The BiscuitDome is an abandoned relic of a Wendy’s brand activation; digital litter left from a one-month March Madness-themed event earlier this year. But it’s emblematic of what many corporations seemingly think that the metaverse is for: pricey ads that might draw a few eyes at first, and then fritter off into forgettable detritus. 

The Crusade Against Pornhub Is Going to Get Someone Killed

April 13, 2021

A post by an extremist Christian group on the far-right social media platform Gab called for the death of a specific Pornhub executive. “WANTED,” the image posted to Gab, featuring a man’s headshot and full name, said. “For crimes against women and children. Help us bring pornstars to justice. Save your children from the LGBT ideology. Save your daughter from becoming a whore. Save the white race!” Another image in the same post shows a man in military fatigues and a black ski mask holding a gun. 
For years, anti-trafficking organizations have pushed agendas that toe the line of vigilantism. They shouldn’t be surprised when someone takes their version of “justice” into their own hands.

Sex Workers Banned from Banks Turn to Crypto

April 7, 2022

For our fifth episode of CRYPTOLAND, Motherboard visited Allie and Belle Creed, another sex worker primarily using cryptocurrency, at the Las Vegas headquarters for Spankchain, a crypto platform made for sex workers by sex workers. 
Crypto and NFTs are the only reason many were able to weather last year’s shakeups in the porn industry—OnlyFans announced and then walked back a decision to ban NSFW material, which caused them to lose subscribers, and Visa, Mastercard and Discover cut ties with Pornhub, cutting off hundreds of performers from their livelihoods. In October, Mastercard implemented even more strict rules for adult content platforms and their creators, causing them to lose even more money—and opening them up to more vulnerability.