The New York Times‘ Nick Bilton sparked a frenzy over the weekend with this tweet pointing attention to the presence of porn in Twitter’s Vine, the new (and much-hyped) video-sharing app for iOS gadgets. Twitter inadvertently threw fuel on the fire this morning when a porn clip was included among the Editor’s Picks that are pushed out to every Vine user’s main feed. (The company attributed that debacle to “human error.”)
While Vine doesn’t directly ban porn in its terms of service, the headlines inevitably prompted some onlookers to question how Apple will respond. Apple aggressively polices its App Store for porn and other forbidden content (it took down the photography app 500px just last week), but as my colleague Erica Ogg notes those policies may not be so cut-and-dried when complicated partnerships are at stake.
That’s why I agree with The Verge‘s Joshua Topolsky, who argues that Apple’s policies — not smut– are the big problem here. Apple has never enforced its rules evenly and transparently, and video-sharing apps are going to be fertile content for porn because, well, of course they are. Instead of working vigorously to keep its App Store porn-free, it should give its users better tools that help them identify potentially offensive content and avoid it.