Could Vine get pulled from the App Store for featuring porn?

The video-sharing app released by Twitter on Thursday is off to a bumpy start for hosting pornographic content. Vine could get the boot from the App Store if it does not clean up its content.

By

  • close
    Twitter's Vine app revolves around short videos.
    View Caption

Just days ago, Vine was getting praise from the Apple App Store as an Editor’s Choice pick. Now the mobile video-sharing app released by Twitter could get taken down for its plethora of pornographic content.

Vine, which launched Thursday, hosts six-second videos, similar to Twitter’s 140-character-long tweets. Since its release, the app has come under scrutiny for allowing pornographic videos, many of them under hashtags like #porn, #nsfw, and #porno.

One risqué video briefly made the Editor’s Picks list on Vine early Monday morning, according to CNET. It was quickly taken down, but the damage was done. 

Recommended: Innovation

A statement released by Twitter attributes the incident to 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,” the statement reads. “We apologize to our users for the error.”

In response to concerns regarding sexual content, Twitter states it will remove all content that is flagged as inappropriate.

“Users can report videos as inappropriate within the product if they believe the content to be sensitive or inappropriate (e.g. nudity, violence, or medical procedures). Videos that have been reported as inappropriate have a warning message that a viewer must click through before viewing the video. Uploaded videos that are reported and determine to violate our guidelines will be removed from the site, and the user that posted the video may be terminated.”

The incident comes just days after the app received praise from Apple. The App Store tweeted on Friday that Vine was an Editor’s Choice app, mainly because of its ability to share six-second looping videos.

But Apple could remove Vine from the App Store if the app continues to feature sexual content. At least that is what happened to 500px, a photo-sharing startup based in Toronto. TechCrunch reported last week that the app was removed from the App Store due to concerns over nudity being featured in some of its images.

Rebecca Jeschke, a digital rights analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says she is not totally comfortable with Apple being the gatekeeper of her applications.

"Some people do want a highly curated environment on their phone,” she says. “On the other hand, if you did a quick Google search for ridiculous app removals from the store, you’ll see unbelievable stuff.”

One instance Jeschke points to is the App Store’s ban of Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Mark Fiore’s app, which featured cartoons satirizing public figures. Apple’s reasoning? Fiore violated rules that prohibit making fun of public figures, according to Wire.

While Apple has the right to curate the products in the App Store, Jeschke says, users have the right to use another phone or to jailbreak the device. She also says it is another example of why the jailbreak exemption, which allows people to jailbreak their phones without violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, should be renewed.

“One of the reasons why that exemption is so important is because if you are in Apple’s nice, safe universe, they get to decide which apps you put on your phone and you should decide which apps you put on phone,” she says.

Share this story:
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...