After days of an almost cold standoff between Apple and Twitter, it looks like the micro-blogging website has blinked first. Twitter has changed video tweeting app Vine’s age rating to 17+ in Apple's App Store.
Vine got an update today that brought several bug fixes and the ability to share videos on Facebook or Twitter. But the biggest change was the new age rating, which requires users to confirm that they are at least 17 years old to be able to download the app. But Twitter hasn't just stopped at increasing the age rating—the update also lets you report and block profiles from within the app.
The video-sharing app previously had a low maturity age rating; users had to be at least 12 years old to be able to use Vine on their iOS devices.
Steering clear of the prontroversy
The ‘porntroversy’ involving Vine broke out mere days after the app’s launch on iOS. Vine essentially allows users to shoot, upload and share short six-second videos that loop themselves like GIFs on Twitter. Users can also choose to play sounds with the videos.
While it was hailed as the future of tweeting by many, New York Times reporter Nick Bilton realised that using Vine to discover porn was extremely easy. All a user needed to do was use the keyword ‘#porn’, which leads to a trove of sexually explicit videos on Vine. Evidently, the short, looping format is extremely lucrative for pornographers to peddle their wares on Twitter.
While Vine’s Terms of Services did not expressly prohibit explicit content, it appealed to users to share videos responsibly. “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,” it reads.
Pornography may not have been a big deal for Vine or Twitter, but Apple had already begun to squirm under the pressure of having an app with adult content right under its nose. Apple’s "See no Evil" attitude made a lot of people wait with bated breath for its next move. The company had after all pulled an app called 500px "for featuring pornographic images and material, a clear violation of the guidelines."
The final straw came when Vine inadvertently displayed a pornographic clip in the app's Editor’s Pick section. While Apple did not pull Vine from the Store, it quietly removed the app from the App Store's Editor’s Choice section.
Vine’s new update ought to appease Apple to a certain extent, as it gives users more authority to report miscreants.