Neal Augenstein, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - The popular new Twitter-owned video-sharing app, Vine, now requires users to promise they're at least 17 years of age, because the app has become a popular venue for pornography.
The app allows users to easily produce and share 6-second video clips. It was introduced by Twitter Jan. 24, and quickly became the subject of Internet buzz.
In a just-released App Store update, users are alerted Vine "contains age-restricted material," and requires them to "Tap OK to confirm that you are 17 or over."
"I think it's unfortunate they had to give the app an NC-17 rating, because there are a lot of things you can do with Vine besides creating porn," says internet safety advocate Larry Magid, co-director of ConnectSafe.org and founder of SafeKids.com. He is also technology analyst for CBS News.
Magid says almost every media or publishing technology ever created has been used for pornography.
"I'm very sure Gutenberg wasn't thinking about pornography when he invented the printing press, but ultimately that technology was used to create porn magazines," says Magid.
Magid says new technologies aren't inherently more likely to be abused.
"When you enable people to take videos and distribute them on the Internet, some people are going to use it (for porn) and unfortunately that seems to have colored people's impression of what this app is being used for.
Twitter has made it more difficult for users to find the adult videos, including blocking many pornography-related search terms.
Magid says Twitter is under pressure to try to keep young people from accessing the material.
"The reality is there's a lot of porn on the Internet, and if any kid wants to get access to it, they certainly don't need Vine to find it," says Magid.
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