Is Porn a PR Problem for Vine?

Twitter’s video sharing app has been gaining a lot of media traction of late, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Vine, which allows you to share video on Twitter, pretty much the same way as you share images, owns its massive adoption to a glitch (?) in the TOS, that features no ban on nudity or porn. At number 8, where Vine lists its Restrictions on Content and Use of the Services, you’ll only find the following:

You may not post Content that:

  • Impersonates another person or entity in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse, or deceive others;
  • Violates the rights of a third party, including copyright, trademark, privacy, and publicity rights;
  • Is a direct and specific threat of violence to others;
  • Is furtherance of illegal activities; or
  • Is harassing, abusive, or constitutes spam.

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It all started yesterday, when a porn video was featured among the day’s Editor’s Picks. Of course, as you noted in the TOS above, porn is not a problem for Vine, but it is a problem for Apple, who explicitly prohibits porn in apps for iPhone and iPad. Last year, Apple removed Viddy, a video-sharing app, for having porn images. This year, it removed photo-sharing app 500px. Vine is still hanging, after Twitter spokesperson, cited by The Verge, declared that the pornographic content was featured as an Editor’s Pick due to a “human error:”

“A human error resulted in a video with adult content becoming one of the videos in Editor’s Picks, and upon realizing this mistake we removed the video immediately. We apologize to our users for the error.”

To avoid future problems, Vine decided to ban searches (hashtags like #sex, #porn, #boobs) for explicit content, and blocked NSFWVine, the user behind the pornographic video that caused so much stir. But this is hardly enough. The measures don’t guarantee that porn content will not find its way to Vine feeds. And if this is not necessarily a PR problem for Vine, it could become an Apple App Store problem. Apple may decide to enforce is porn policy, and ban the app if the porn issues persist – and they will, because Vine user-generated content is not moderated:

“Apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster’s Dictionary as explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings, will be rejected”

Porn was not the only issue faced by Twitter on the launch of Vine. A few hours after the launch, the app disabled sharing videos from the app to Facebook and Twitter, because crossed-log-in issues that affected several users. As AllThingsD reported, Vine user Keith Whamond was logged into another user’s account inadvertently:

“The small, slightly annoying part: Whamond could potentially post to Vine as the other user he was logged in as — one Tyler Petersen.”

A rocky start, so far, for Vine, and hopefully things will run smoother in the near future, because there is a lot of potential in the app.

Vine could be used by reporters and citizen journalists to report news in real time; it could be used to review businesses (like restaurant, hotels, and other venues); to share great travel moments; for advertising; and even to notify authorities of crimes in progress, with live, unaltered video content.

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