Verizon agrees to sell Tumblr to owner of Wordpress

Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Verizon is set to sell the social network Tumblr to Automattic Inc, the owner of online publishing tool Wordpress. A source familiar with the deal puts the price-tag "well below" $20 million, while another source puts it below $10 million.

The big picture: Tumblr, while unprofitable, hosts more than 450 million blogs and was once considered a major player in the social media space. The network was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion in 2013, before moving under Verizon's umbrella through the carrier's acquisition of Yahoo in 2017. Verizon's desire to sell Tumblr had been previously known, but as of May, Pornhub had been the only bidder to show public interest.

Automattic Inc. will buy the network and take on its 200 employees.

Between the lines: Tumblr has faced backlash over the years for not properly monitoring pornographic content, which Verizon ultimately banned last year. Automattic's Chief Executive Matt Mullenweg told the Wall Street Journal that he plans to maintain the ban.

Additional Stories

Scoop: Top Homeland Security aide resigns amid tensions with White House

McAleenan testifies at a House committee hearing in July. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan's top aide and spokesperson is resigning amid frustration in the White House over the Department of Homeland Security's handling of major policy rollouts and White House distrust of McAleenan and his inner circle, sources familiar with his resignation tell Axios.

Why it matters: Andrew Meehan's departure comes amid broader internal tensions between the White House and DHS leadership. President Trump is wary of McAleenan, whom he associates with the Obama administration, and his top aides, several current and former administration officials tell us. These sources say Trump has no intention of formally nominating McAleenan for a permanent position.

U.S. laws don't cover campaign disinformation

A now-defunct loudspeaker system set up to bombard North Korea with South Korean messaging. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The international industry of disinformation-for-hire services has already reared its head in Western politics, and it's growing fast.

The big picture: There is no U.S. law that prevents candidates, parties or political groups from launching their own disinformation campaigns, either in-house or through a contractor, so long as foreign money isn't involved. It's up to individual candidates to decide their tolerance for the practice.

Mitch McConnell defends the Senate filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Democrats to stop considering abolishing the filibuster Thursday, arguing "America needs the Senate to be the Senate" in a New York Times op-ed.

The state of play: The Kentucky senator, responding to calls to from his predecessor Harry Reid and a number of 2020 contenders to end the filibuster to move forward Democratic proposals on gun control and climate change, said it was "their half-baked proposals and not the centuries-old wisdom that need retooling."

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