Twitter's new micro-video app is predictably flooded with porn

Vine users posting spicy 6-second clips have sparked a larger conversation about free speech and social media

By Katie McDonough
Published January 28, 2013 9:38PM (UTC)
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Vine, Twitter's new micro-video application, lets people share up to 6 seconds of video as an endlessly looping clip. Interestingly, 6 seconds is also how long it took for people to start using it to share porn.

Porn? On the Internet? Who would have thought.


And rather than flying under the radar, this spicy new content came to very public attention this morning when an explicit clip (it was tagged #dildoplay, let's leave it at that) made its way onto Vine's "Editor's Picks" list. That means users who opened the application were automatically greeted with some very NSFW content.

Vine quickly issued an apology, but it may still be in hot water with Apple.

Vine is currently iOS-only, and Apple is notorious for its prudish policies around adult content, having recently banned a popular photo sharing application because of nude photos, even after the app's creator offered a fix to filter explicit images. Apple balked, claiming the content still violated its user guidelines.


Apple's maybe, but not Vine's. There is nothing in Vine's terms of use that specifically bans adult images, just a "don't do anything I wouldn't do" recommendation:

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.

And Vine isn't playing Internet porn cop, yet. Rather than booting adult content, it has started to monitor and identify explicit hashtags (most recently: #ass) that require a filter wall. The content remains accessible, but a warning screen lets you know what you're in for.

It's a surprisingly adult way to handle a microporn scandal. Surprising -- and possibly influential.


If Apple lets Vine's policy toward explicit images slide and continues to carry the app, it could signal a change in its own guidelines around adult content -- and mean your smartphone is about to get a whole lot racier.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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