Growing Pains for Twitter’s Vine

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    The porn problem creates a crisis for video-sharing app

    Twitter is pushing hard for its new Vine video-sharing app to become an integral part of the way people use its service but in the midst of the hype it’s already experienced a significant setback.

    Apple, which has an extremely close working relationship with the Big T, was initially happy to feature the app, which lets users share six-second video clips, in the popularity-boosting “Editor’s Choice” section of its App Store, but just this morning Vine was unceremoniously dropped from that list. The reason?

    Well, an awful lot of people like to share porn on the Internet, and when you hand out an app that lets users record and post videos anonymously, guess what they’re doing to do with it? While the tag #NSFW was already quite popular on Vine, the final straw came when someone at Vine accidentally set a pornographic video to “featured” this morning, displaying it in the feeds of all users. Shortly after, the app disappeared from the “Editor’s Choice” section, although it remains in the App Store.

    Similar programs, including photo-sharing app 500px and video app Viddy, have been axed from the App Store entirely because of their pornographic potential, which is against Apple’s dev guidelines, specifically, the section stating apps “that contain user-generated content that is frequently pornographic” are not allowed in the Store.

    Now Twitter and Apple are in a difficult position. Does Apple risk damaging its strong relationship with Twitter by removing Vine from the app store (assuming there are no pre-existing agreements between the two regarding the app, and we’ll freely admit that is a HUGE assumption) or does it lose face and credibility with other developers by allowing Vine to remain when it’s dropped others that provided virtually the same service?

    Already Vine has taken one step to keep its spot, blocking the hashtag #porn from being used, but as we all know the denizens of the ‘net are far too clever to make that an obstacle for long.

    New details in the story are still emerging as we publish this post, but we’re looking forward to watching the crisis management moves these two giants of the modern tech world make over the coming days.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also the editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]