February 6, 2013
Twitter Ups Age Rating On Newly Acquired Vine App
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
It took less than a month for Twitter to change the age rating for possible adult content on its newly acquired video-sharing app Vine. Last month the micro-blogging site, which is primarily known for its 140-character messages, acquired Vine, reportedly beating Facebook to the micro-video-sharing service.
It didn´t take long before Vine, which allows users to post GIF-like MP4 video files that are six-seconds long, to suddenly find itself as a new distribution channel for short-form pornographic movies. Twitter responded on Wednesday by changing the age rating on the iOS app from 12+ to 17+.
This comes after some adult content not only showed up on the service, but even made it into an “Editor´s Picks” category last month. While originally rated 12+ and thus open to most users, going forward these users will have to confirm that they are at least 17 years old before they can use the app.
Twitter had tried previous efforts to block the content. After Vine seemed to become a popular venue for amateur pornography the micro-blogging site responded by making it harder for users to find such content. It had proceeded to block a number of pornography-related search terms including “#porn,” and then added a still image to the beginning of videos in question, so users could receive fair warning prior to viewing the clip.
Finally it appears that the decision was made to increase the age rating of the app, which no doubt could limit its broader appeal. However, Twitter´s Vine is hardly the first service or app to have made such a bold decision.
Tumblr and 500px — the latter of which even found itself removed from the Apple App Store due to its photo-sharing capabilities (allowing users to search for and find nude images) — were both forced to change the ratings of their respective apps.
The new rating has been introduced in the new version of Vine (1.0.5), which also now adds the ability to share “vines” to Twitter or Facebook after posting, as well as report or block a profile. It also provides various bug fixes.
The fact that the vines can now be posted to Facebook also suggests that this was, at least in part, a work-around to Facebook´s recent blocking of third-party access to its users´ data, which followed a similar move to block content from Instagram.
While users will now have to confirm their age before using the Vine app, it seems that content can once again be shared across the social media universe.
What remains in question is whether an age rating with Vine actually solves any of these issues. Users will now see a pop-up confirmation screen but it can´t actually determine a user´s age, and children under 17 could still install it.
However, it does seem that Twitter is at least trying to cover itself — at least as a response to users who seem to be uncovering themselves all too often in six-second clips.
Moreover, as some users have shown, photos alone on Twitter have already been enough to get media attention for all the wrong reasons.
Last fall actress Alison Pill of HBO´s 'The Newsroom' was just one example of how too much to drink, a camera phone and Twitter can result in an embarrassing turn of events; and then there is the now legendary tale of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who was forced to resign after a sexting scandal, which included photos of his privates going all too public.
These might be just two examples of people who should stay off the Vine regardless of ratings.