Earlier this week Twitter launched their new, concise video service, Vine. And, just like we predicted -- surprise, surprise -- some people have been using it for porn ads and penis shots. This is cause for comment not only because of the content itself, but because a short time ago Apple removed the 500px app due to what they claimed was "pornographic" content (rather than artistic nudity).
Almost any app that allows user generated content, be it images, videos, or even audio or plain text, runs the risk of adult material being posted. That includes Facebook and Twitter, 500px and Vine. Almost any app that accesses the unfettered web runs the risk of such material being found, intentionally or unintentionally. That includes Apple's own, built-in Safari.
Apple maintains two different developer paths -- the App Store for highly curated, family friendly content, and web apps for anything goes. Playboy, for example, made a web app for the iPad. Problems arise, however, when the line is blurred between the two -- when App Store apps pull web content.
The App Store is run by humans, and is subject to the whims and vagaries that come with human curation. That's both strength and a weakness, a blessing and a curse.
The world is not a safe or sterile place. In the wild, you'll come across all manner of beauty and terror, natural and animal. The web is no different. Sometimes we'll discover stuff that delights us, sometimes repulses us. We can never be protected completely from either. Even bubbles break.
From the start, Apple has said they'd get the App Store wrong, and come across things they didn't anticipate, but that they'd learn and grow. This particular problem has been around for years, but as social sharing has become easier, it's come to the surface again.
The App Store is Apple's store, so they'll have to figure out a way to deal with it.
I say slap the same mature content warning on social sharing that they slap on full blown web access. It's scary, and it's not ideal, but it's pragmatic given the system as it stands.
Anyone have any better ideas?