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After porn controversy, age rating on Vine raised to 17

Twitter has been taking steps toward weeding out inappropriate content on the app

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
February 6, 2013 | last edited February 6, 2013 6:41 AM | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2d62

There is one rule that is just about always true: if you give people something, they will figure out how to make it dirty, especially if it involves video. There really just seems to be a certain section of the population that wants everyone, for whatever reason, to see them naked. 

This has become a real problem for Twitter and its newly released video sharing app Vine app, which became known around the Internet as having a "porn problem," when people immediately began posting videos of themselves doing very dirty things on the app. Twitter has tried to stop the practice, but, perhaps realizing that it cannot completely weed out such videos, it has done the next best thing: raise its age restriction for the app from 12 to 17.

When updating the app for version 1.0.5, a message appears that reads, "Vine - Make a scene contains age-restricted material. Tap OK to confirm that you are 17 or over. Your content will then begin downloading immediately."

On the App Store, it now clearly states, "You must be at least 17 years old to download this app," and warns of the possiblity of viewers seeing: infrequent/mild alcohol, tobacco, or drug use or reference; infrequent/mild horror/fear theme; frequent/intense sexual sontent or nudity; infrequent/mild profanity or crude humor; infrequent/mild realistic violence; infrequent/mild cartoon or fantasy violence; infrequent/mild mature/suggestive theme; or infrequent/mild simulated gambling.

Right after Vine debuted two weeks ago, people started putting up videos of themselves naked, either alone or with other people. I began reading stories about it literally an hour after it debuted. In a really embarrassing move for Twitter, one pornographic video was even accidentally chosen as one of Vine's editor picks!

Twitter became aware of the problem quickly, and tried to weed out inappropriate videos by restricting a number of hashtags, including #porn,  #sex, #boobs, and #booty. But there really is no way for Twitter to monitor every video to make sure inappropriate content does not get through.

Will the new age restrictions do anything to stop the practice of people putting up short videos of themselves having sex? Not really. Nor will it really shield anyone under the age of 17 from seeing these videos. What this move mostly does it shield Twitter from any potential liability. If a minor does wind up seeing a video of people having sex on the app, at least now Twitter can say that it put up a warning and an age restriction. The rest, they will probably say, is out of their hands.

It may also save the app from being totally banned by the App Store. After the editor's pick blunder, Apple actually pulled Vine from its featured section. Apple has also removed apps for having pornographic content in the past, including 500px app, only reinstating it after it added an option for user to report inappropriate photos. Twitter obviously does not want the same thing to happen to Vine, and it is doing everything in its power to make sure it doesn't.

This change was originally spotted by The Verge.

Twitter originally purchased Vine in October. It allows users to create and share six second long looping videos that can be embedded into tweets, or uploaded onto a separate Vine web page.

Twitter could not be reached for comment.

(Image source: http://www.ksdk.com)


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