Vine's Microporn Highlights Flaw In App Store Model

iOS users are happily trying out Twitter's new Vine app, posting six-second videos of their lives for their followers to see. But already there are reports of pornographic imagery appearing on the new service, which spotlights Apple's next move: should Vine stay or should it go?

The new social media app, which records and posts short videos to display in continuous loops on your Twitter account, is garnering a lot of praise as creative folks are pushing out cute little vignettes.

It's also getting a early reports of videos depicting nudity and sex. While it's not clear how much porn one can fit into six seconds (insert obligatory male performance joke here), it hasn't stopped people from trying.

Where There's Media, There's Porn

That there's porn on Vine is not a surprise. Since there were cave drawings, humans have been visually recording all things sexual. Vine is just another medium for the activity.

What will be interesting is Apple's reaction (or non-reaction) to the realization that gasp! there's naughty bits on one of the apps in their App Store.

Apple's policies about nudity, sex and all things in between are the stuff of legend, of course, and just recently have been brought into the spotlight again when the software maker opted to pull apps associated with the popular 500px photo-sharing service out of the App Store.

The decision to remove 500px apps would seem to be very germane to Vine, since content that Apple (or anyone else) would deem pornographic is appearing on Vine. And, unlike 500px, which clearly indicated galleries that contained explicit content, Vine content is not required to be so indicated. Which means, theoretically, any Vine link could potentially be a skinfest.

This is not to advocate the removal of Vine. If consenting adults want to look at this stuff, that's their call. But in keeping with Apple's own policies, Vine has some real porn potential and deserves a review.

Cut The Vine?

If Vine remains on the App Store after such a review, this would demonstrate a serious flaw in Apple's store model. If Apple placates big-name app developers and bend the rules for them to let their apps stay in the App Store, then the unfairness we've suspected will be brought into the harsh light of reality.

If Vine does get pulled, then at least Apple is consistent. But it will also show that the App Store policy is ultimately silly: instead of pulling apps out wholesale, why not just require parental controls or other safe-search-like features in any app where there's a potential for explicit content to be displayed? This would seem to be a more reasonable approach, and Apple, as the sole developer of iOS, would seem to be in an excellent position to build tools into their iOS SDK to accomplish this.

Even if you disagree with the need for such controls, having them present would seem to be a reasonable compromise that would work in the real world and not in the Reality Distortion Field.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.