A group of sex tech startup founders, employees and supporters gathered outside of Facebook’s NY office in Manhattan to protest its advertising policies with respect to what it classifies as sexual content. The protest, and a companion website detailing their position , are the work of ‘Approved, Not Approved,’ a coalition of sex health companies co-founded by Dame Products and Unbound Babes. These policies are applied have fallen out of step with “the average person’s views of what should or shouldn’t be approved of ads,” according to Janet Lieberman, co-founder and CTO of Dame Products. “If you look at the history of the sex toy industry, for example, vibrators were sexual health products, until advertising restrictions were put on them in the 1920s and 1930s – and then they became dirty, and that’s how the industry got shady, and that’s why we have negative thoughts towards them,” she told me in an interview at the protest. “They’re moving back towards wellness in people’s minds, but not in advertising policies. There’s a double standard for what is seen as obscene, talking about men’s sexual health versus women’s sexual health and talking about products that aren’t sexual, and using sex to sell them, versus taking sexual products and having completely non-sexual ads for them.” Credit: TechCrunch It’s a problem that extends beyond just Facebook and Lieberman says. In fact, her company is for its own ad standards after it refused to run ads for women’s sex toys in their out-of-home advertising inventory. But it also has ramifications beyond just advertising, since in many ways what we see in ads helps define what we see as acceptable in terms of our everyday lives and conversations. “Some of this stems from society’s inability to separate sexual products from feeling sexual, and that’s a real problem that we see that hurts women more than men, but hurts both genders, in not knowing how to help our sexual health,” Lieberman said. “We can’t talk about it without being sexual, and that we can’t bring things up, without it seeming like we’re bringing up something that is dirty.” Credit: Unbound / Dame Products “A lot of the people you see here today have Instagrams that have been shut down, or ads that have been not approved on Facebook,” said Bryony Cole, CEO at Future of Sex in an interview. “Myself, I run Future of Sex, which is a sex tech hackathon, and a podcast focused on sex tech, and my Instagram’s been shut down twice with no warning. It’s often for things that Facebook will say they consider phallic imagery, but they’re not […] and yet if you look at images for something like HIMS [an erectile dysfunction medication startup,], you’ll see those phallic practice images. So there’s this gross discrepancy, and it’s very frustrating, especially for these companies where a lot of the revenue in their business is around community that are online which is true for sex toys.” Online ads aren’t just a luxury for many of these startup brands and companies – they’re a necessary ingredient to continued success. and Facebook together account for the majority of digital advertising spend in the U.S., , and it’s hard to grow a business that caters to primarily online customers without fair access to their platforms, Cole argues. “You see a lot of sex tech or sexual wellness brands having to move off Instagram and find other ways to reach their communities,” she said. “But the majority of people, that’s where they are. And if they’re buying these products, they’re still overcoming a stigma about buying the product, so it’s great to be able to purchase these online. A lot of these companies started either crowdfunding, like Dame Products, or just through ecommerce sites. So the majority of their business is online. It’s not in a store.” Credit: Unbound / Dame Products Earlier this year, sex tech company netted a win in getting the Consumer Technology Association to restore its CES award after community outcry. Double standards in advertising is a far more systemic and distributed problem, but these protests will hopefully help open up the conversation and prompt more change.
If you think you knew there’s to know about the Samsung Galaxy S10, the company’s Norwegian ad has now leaked . The Verge the ad — a Verge reader was watching TV and it accidentally aired on commercial TV. It matches up with devices that have already leaked over the past couple of months. But there are some additional features that haven’t been discussed yet. The most glaring change is that Samsung is opting for a pinhole cutout in the corner of the screen instead of an iPhone-style notch. The S10 will have a rounded hole while the S10+ will get an oblong hole punch with a couple of front-facing camera sensors. As you can see in the ad, Samsung has integrated the fingerprint sensor in the display. It’s still unclear whether you’ll be able to touch any part of the screen, but the ad shows that you’ll be able to put your finger right above the USB-C connector to unlock your phone. The photo gallery app will get a new tab for stories. It sounds like you’ll be able to create stories using the default camera app without having to use Instagram or Snapchat. In addition to wireless charging, the S10 will be able to act as a wireless charger. For instance, you’ll be able to recharge the company’s AirPods-like earbuds using your phone. Rumor has it that Samsung will also release a third device this year. In addition to the usual S10 (6.1-inch display), the S10+ (6.4-inch display), there could be a cheaper 5.8-inch phone. This variant could feature an LCD display, and two cameras on the back instead of three. And yet, the ad only shows two phones. It’s unclear whether Samsung will run separate advertising campaigns or launch that cheaper phone at a later date.