Twitter owns the popular 6-second video sharing app Vine. Vine has become popular with a number of porn stars, including the always technology-forward and social savvy Maverick Men
. However... Vine just announced some changes to its handling of "adult content."
As they put it, "For more than 99 percent of our users, this doesn’t really change anything. For the rest: we don’t have a problem with explicit sexual content on the Internet –– we just prefer not to be the source of it." Which I call some bullshit on.
Conner Habib has started a Change.Org petition
wherein he states the following:
Censorship affects all of us.
The important role of the Vine app - as a medium for users to freely express themselves - is under threat from a new policy.
As of March 6th, 2014, Vine has decided to remove all content labeled "adult content" and to suspend or ban users creating any content labeled "adult." Vine's stated reason for doing this is because they want users to "be comfortable."
Many of us - as users of vine - do not participate in viewing or creating adult content, but we all recognize Vine as a place for freedom of expression.
We are disturbed by the precedent set on Vine for other applications and websites, including Twitter. We are also disturbed that we are not allowed to choose what we view.
Vine's perception of its users as a community that advocates censorship is wrong. There is nothing comfortable to us about the slippery slope of censorship.
For these reasons, we demand full restoration of adult content on vine and a return to the adult content warning system previously in place.
Last year, Tumblr started enforcing with a little more gusto, a rule that they've always had on the books. Their TOS have always stated that they prohibited sexual videos (pictures & GIFs are welcome) because of the expense associated with hosting large video files. Being that Tumblr has always had the rule on the books – despite a team too small to effectively enforce it before gaining access to Yahoo's resources – there really wasn't too much hubbub around the action. Sure, there was some hysteria from some uninformed users, but it subsided quickly. Hell, even when Tumblr was advising users against posting porn to their own servers, they were more than happy to suggest hosting it elsewhere and embedding it into Tumblr-provided blogs. Their approach wasn't a matter of having your cake & not eating it, it was really more like BYOC. (Bring your own cake.)
The Vine situation is different, though. Since Twitter has long had a silent agreement regarding pornographic images & accounts (as long as it's legal, it's fine) Vine adopted much of the same attitude upon its launch. Now, they're reneging on the service for a good chunk of the user base. They say 99% of folks won't be affected; do they not even bother researching their own usage stats by members? Porn is always the king of internet traffic. Even in countries with one DSL line, 5 computers and a Theocratic government, Porn rules the bandwidth traffic. And considering that Vine is essentially a souped up GIF, the compression that the video files go through is most certainly not the strain on servers that an actual video would be. I challenge the Vine IT department to provide proof otherwise.
Sure, services like Tumblr & Google have instituted more stringent filters in their search engines lately, requiring users to dig a little deeper to find the T&A content, but the fact is, the content is still there. It's just been made harder to "accidentally" stumble across.
[Editor's Note] My guess is that it's an effort to cover their liability should some underage doofus run across some porn, get found out by their parent and then have the fucktard parent sue the company & win by the ruling of some conservative activist judge in a Red state. #runonsentences
At any rate, a strong response is needed. Whether or not it changes Vine's decision is not the entire issue, as far as I'm concerned. What they need to see is a strong response of concerned and active users. The older the internet gets, the more complacent its users become about the obstruction of expressive freedoms. But this deserves the full minute of your time it will take to fill out the form
. We need more sex-positivity in this society, and most importantly on our social networks where so much of our communication is now happening.
Click the image below to sign the petition.