Shocker: People are uploading porn to Vine

Shocker: People are uploading porn to Vine

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?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Shocker: People are uploading porn to Vine


Am I wrong to assume the nudity (or porn) is everywhere (Youtube, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, etc., etc.)? What makes Vine special and where should Apple draw the line? At some point we walk a fine line between infringing on free speech and protecting viewers (especially the young ones). I like the restriction option on my iPhone (Settings>>General>>Restrictions), and the many options one gets by going this route.


Since kids can freely access porn though Safari on their iDevices, Apple should concentrate on making "Restrictions" as efficient as possible.

first porn is everywhere. more than youtube etc there are porn video sites. And i'm pro porn by consenting adults. nothing against it. But if you have a browser on you're phone you can get porn. i can name tons of sites and it's all free and it's far from secret.

that said. It's not a "free speech." issue. There's no fine line for "we" or Apple to cross. Freedom of speed is a guarantee against the Government infringing. A private company and set it's own standards for how it's products can be used. That's why the NBA can fine people for talking bad about a ref after a game or if someone uses a homophobic slur that get's caught by a courtside mic. Its' a private organization. So they are free issue if they choose to ban the apps and we are free to take our business elsewhere. That's the market. But it's not a free speech issue. There is no law against making porn. And even then, there are limits on free speech anyways. For example, you have the right to go on tv and say, "I don't think killing should be against the law." But you don't have the right to go on tv and say "i don't think killing should be against the law so everybody on Wednesday should come out to Time Square at noon so we can kill people." The first is crazy but protected speech. The latter is not going to be speech that's protected cause it's inciting illegal activity.

personally i think trying to restrict porn is kinda a waste. like i said i'm pro porn. I have no issue finding it and these apps don't even bring good porn.

This is really only a story because of the recent 500px incident. Will vine get special treatment because of their close ties with apple? I'm curious to see what response if any apple gives since this has now become a problem. Personally, I think apple is fighting a losing battle here and really need to rethink their approach.

With all the violence in TV, movies, and video games (not to mention our foreign policy), nudity and sex is a problem?!

Oops! I forgot--this is the USA.....

I agree. Plus I think that pulling 500px off the store was ridiculous. I've been using the app for at least a year now, and I've never seen porn. Sure there is artistic nudity, but 500 px has made it so you have to change you settings on line to view any images with nudity from what I understand. Where do you draw the line.

I love how the rest of the world sees and plays the same "violent" video games, tvs, and movies yet somehow they manage not to have mass shooting sprees and violence on every street corner on a weekend.