Vine: The New #Porn App Risks App Store Exclusion

Twitter only recently released Vine, an app that lets users post 6-second video clips in loop, hitting the App Store last week. Early adopters were quick to share video clips of their pets, food, traveling and friends, but others quickly discovered that Vine can be used in more mischievous ways, like sharing adult content.

Porn on the Vine

First off, Vine doesn’t actually prohibit users from sharing nude or pornographic content with the app as long as it doesn’t violate copyrights, and the sole responsibility for the videos rest on users, not Vine.

According to Vine’s Terms of Service, these are the things one cannot post on Vine. Videos 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.

Vine’s Terms of Service also states that users should only share content that they are comfortable sharing – which means, if you are comfortable with showing the world your body or private acts such as having sex, then go on and do it.

“You are responsible for your use of the Services, for any Content you post to the Services, and for any consequences thereof. The Content you submit, post, or display will be able to be viewed by other users of the Services and through third party services and websites. You should only provide Content that you are comfortable sharing with others under these Terms,” Vine’s ToS read.

Vine was acquired by Twitter so it has some of the microblog’s features, such as hashtags for easy search and discovery.  Hashtags such as #porn, #sex, #ass, #masturbate and #NSFW make porn search much easier on Vine’s platform.  People can also comment on hashtags, just like Twitter.  And because Twitter has always been censorship-free in most countries, the same goes with Vine.

The ToS warns users that they may be exposed to “Content that might be offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate, or in some cases, postings that have been mislabeled or are otherwise deceptive.”  Since users are responsible for content shared, Vine is not “liable in any way for any Content, including, but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any Content, or any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Content posted, emailed, transmitted or otherwise made available via the Services or broadcast elsewhere.”

By agreeing to Vine’s ToS, users are giving Vine “a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”  Simply put, though you own the rights to your videos, you gave Vine the right to use your content however they want to use it.

So does that mean Vine users should just put up with all the porn readily available, even for kids that have access to the site’s content?

Users can fight bad content

According to Twitter, those who are disturbed by the abundance of pornographic videos available on Vine can report the videos deemed appropriate, such as those containing nudity, violence, or medical procedures.  Once the videos are reported as inappropriate, a warning message will be added before the video plays, alerting viewers of inappropriate content.   If more people report the video, it will be sent for review by Vine with the possibility of being removed, the account suspended or even terminated.

“We may suspend or terminate your accounts or cease providing you with all or part of the Services at any time for any reason, including, but not limited to, if we reasonably believe: (i) you have violated these Terms, (ii) you create risk or possible legal exposure for us; or (iii) our provision of the Services to you is no longer commercially viable. We will make reasonable efforts to notify you by the email address associated with your account or through the Services the next time you attempt to access your account,” Vine’s ToS reads.

Risk of being ousted

Vine is available for download in Apple’s App Store, which is known for being strict with apps that make nudity and mature content easily available to anyone, especially younger users.

Last week, Apple pulled photo sharing app 500px from the App Store for reportedly making nude photos easily available to consumers.  And last year, Viddy, a video sharing app, was pulled from the App Store because it has too much porn.

It’s a likely possibility that if Twitter doesn’t filter Vine’s content, the app could be pulled from Apple’s App Store and possibly banned from other app stores.

About Mellisa Tolentino

Mellisa is a staff writer for SiliconAngle, covering social and mobile news. She is fascinated by technology and loves imparting what she learns through her journey as a writer. Got a news story or tip? Send it to mellisa@siliconangle.com