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Verizon Media announces sale of Tumblr to Automattic (verizon.com)

“Tumblr is one of the Web’s most iconic brands,” said Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg. “It is an essential venue to share new ideas, cultures and experiences, helping millions create and build communities around their shared interests. We are excited to add it to our lineup, which already includes WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Jetpack, Simplenote, Longreads, and more.”

This was a surprise for me. I’m not sure what any of this means for Tumblr or WordPress.com customers, but I think it’s an exciting development. I deleted my Tumblr account last year. I created a new Tumblr account upon reading the announcement.

Perhaps we’ll get more Indieweb features such as Webmentions. Maybe Automattic will reprise Tumblr as a WordPress powered microblogging service similar to micro.blog. It’s something a few people have suggested may be easy for Automattic to do. The Jetpack module, combined with the Conversations feature of the Reader service, would be an impressive service.

Tip-o-hat to Dennis.

UPDATE: Matt Mullenweg has a short post about the acquisition.
UPDATE 2: Some thoughts from VC Fred Wilson:

… Tumblr was both a blogging platform and a social media application and while I always loved the versatility of the platform, native mobile applications benefit from simplicity, not complexity.

There was a time around 2010 and 2011 when Tumblr was the most engaging social platform that I was on. I followed and met quite a few interesting people there and it was a lot of fun to be on it.

David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, always focused on making Tumblr a “positive” experience. That is why he refused to have comments, even though I pushed him to do it and hacked Tumblr by putting Disqus on mine. That is why he made the primary (only?) form of engagement a heart.

Blog Engines and Indieweb Controlling Upstream by Brad Brad

All this WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg stuff got me thinking.  With WordPress it seems like the Indieweb starts making serious and cool progress and the WordPress people come along and knock the game board and pieces off the table.  And it sounds like the disruption from WordPress is going to continue ..

I think WordPress has strayed from its roots as a blogging platform. Automattic seems interested in building a content management system to compete with Medium and Wix. I’ve used WordPress since 2003. I have an intense dislike of Gutenberg. Hopefully, I will have time this weekend to learn more about ClassicPress.

Due to concerns about my legal responsibilities around compliance the European Union General Data Protection Regulations, I configured my Wordfence web application firewall (WAF) to block all traffic origination in EU member countries. While some people think this was an extreme move, a lack of clarity around what is expected of small website operators and that I operate an information technology related consultancy, left me feeling vulnerable. Until I could understand what/if I needed to do to comply with GDPR’s “right to be forgotten”, I simply did not want the risk.

Today, I have removed the WAF rules that restrict traffic originating in the EU. Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and the supporters of WordPress.org, have updated/are updating JetPack and other properties to comply with the GDPR. Currently, my self-hosted WordPress uses the Jetpack plug-in to handle things like comments and website traffic analysis. This moves some of the risks off to Automattic. They will be the data controller for information collected via comments and website analytics.

Automattic has provided information on what information JetPack collects for comments and how that data is used. They have done the same for website analytics. Click on those links to find out more.

I have added “Do Not Track” code to my WordPress config via JetPack. According to Automattic.

Any piece of data explicitly identifying a specific user (IP address, WordPress.com ID, WordPress.com username, etc.) is not visible to the site owner when using this feature. For example, a site owner can see that a specific post has 285 views, but he/she cannot see which specific users/accounts viewed that post.

Stats logs — containing visitor IP addresses and WordPress.com usernames (if available) — are retained by Automattic for 28 days and are used only for the purpose of powering this feature.

Comments on my blog will be restricted to what JetPack and Webmentions provide. I expect that JetPack comments will soon have the ability for commenters to delete comments, allowing compliance with GDPR requirements. I expect that people using Webmentions understand how they work and understand that they can delete a comment by sending another Webmention to do so.

I do not intend to collect any information on visitors or commenters to this website other than what JetPacks collects.

I am basing my decision to remove the WAF rules based on the changes that Automattic is making and also on guidance in this codeinwp.blog post. Also, Wordfence has applied “for the Privacy Shield certification program for both EU-US and Swiss-US and will soon have available a Data Processing Agreement” for EU customers who need one.

I guess what’s really pissing me off is that although I live in the United States of American, some fucking European law can reach across the ocean and potentially affect me. That, that pisses me off!!

Geography of the visitors to Island in the Net.