In what may be the least surprising bit of news in recent history, people are using their phones to send each other sexy videos. This time, users are sending the videos via Twitter’s new app. Vine, released last week, allows users to record six-second videos and label them with hashtags.
Sure enough, the “porn” hashtag is packed with explicit videos. According to Slashgear, Twitter has a two-tier report system that allows users to flag questionable content. After the videos are flagged, a warning message will precede any future viewings. Flagged videos will also be viewed by Vine and anything that is especially offensive will be removed.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is not known to frivolously delete controversial images and content. Vine’s own terms of service explains: “You understand that by using the Services, you may be exposed to Content that might be offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate.”
While Vine users may not have a problem with a little bit of nudity hidden under a warning message, it may be Apple that will step in to censor the new video app.
Apple has a history of removing apps for explicit imagery. Just last week, image sharing service 500px saw its mobile app removed for fear of nude images that are generally far more tasteful than the videos seen in a quick search on Vine. Meanwhile, apps like Snapchat and Facebook’s Poke are notorious for “sexting” naughty videos between users.
A major difference between Shapchat and Vine is the latter's more public nature: in Snapchat, you view content as a private message while Vine’s videos are public to anyone who has the app. In this regard, Vine stands out as having more potential to offend unwilling viewers. At the same time, image services like Flickr are still allowed in the App Store despite having a large public library of pornographic images.
Steve Jobs famously addressed the issue in a 2010 email after a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist's app was removed from the App Store:
“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone.”
Apple has not yet made any moves to censor Vine or remove it from the App Store, but we’re betting it won’t take long.