January 28, 2013

An Unpopular Opinion About Twitter's Vine App: So What? Let There Be Porn

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What is the issue?

Everyone’s heard it through the grapeVine. A new Twitter app called Vine can be used to share six-second video loops, and it’s already being flooded with porn. (You like that? Grape-Vine. I’ll show myself out.)

The app allows users to share and Tweet videos — Instagram for video clips basically. It’s in the Apple store and was created with Twitter in mind. And it took almost no time at all for people to start using Vine to share porn, which is apparently something that Vine’s creators did not anticipate. (…How?)

Everyone in tech media is acting like this is some kind of totally shocking sign of the Devil. That it’s surprising and depraved and shitty that people started using Vine to share Xtina-level dirrty vids. Headlines call it a “serious problem” (LOLOL) like this is the first time something on the web has been co-opted for masturbatory purposes.

The real interesting thing is how Apple’s partner on this, Twitter, is VERY anti-censorship and will only shut something down if really pressed. That’s why there are so many porn stars on Twitter, because Facebook, for example, would not allow them the same freedom to post whatever they want. Meanwhile, the app’s other parent, Apple, is very pro-censorship and regularly removes apps which turn out to be XXX. So will Vine be able to last if the porn keeps coming? (Heh. Man, I am on a roll today.)

I’m not offended by the porn on Vine. I’m sort of just amused. Humans: we are a predictable bunch, huh? It took like, four days for us to turn Vine into a porn-sharing micro service. I’m actually a little proud of us, in a sort of weird, damn-the-man, anarchy-loving way.

Am I surprised? No. I figure if it’s on the internet, it’ll be porn faster than you can say, well, “porn.” I mean, look what happened to Snapchat. And people were sexting long before that. But the appeal of these mediums was their privacy and how Snapchat, at least, immediately shuts down the image you send after the allotted time. If Vine is like Instagram, then these videos will stay up in your feed and can be shared around by others. That’s riskier.

I wonder if this app will launch like, “six-second porn stars.” People whose entire porn careers were made on the creativity and sexiness of their Vine clips. The same way there are “Twitter comedians” who used the online service to work for their kind of comedy and kickstarted their careers, maybe we’ll have a whole new category of adult performer who can really maximize those six seconds and we’ll have to start describing internet celebrities who come of this as “Vine porn actress So-And-So.”

So, yeah. I am mainly amused. And yes, I understand that the glitch that forced porn on people through an Editor’s Pick sucked, but it’s being worked on and fixed. Obviously no one wants to be forced to look at something they don’t want to look at, but I think going forward that won’t be a problem. Apps are always wonky in the beginning. Maybe wait a bit before downloading them if you’d rather be cautious. Now you know.

So I’m inclined to say “chill out” to those who are acting so offended and nutso about Vine allowing users to share porn. I’ve always had a serious problem with the hysterical fanfare surrounding seeing any glimpse of sex or nudity, like we all don’t have the same-ish working parts. Also, you now have to tap the screen to see any sexy videos and if you don’t it’s just a gray box. Sometimes they automatically play, but when it’s NSFW content, you choose whether you want to see it or not.

A lot of the articles are all, “Think of the children!” but I hate to break it to you since you seem not to know: the entire internet is porn. If your child has ever used a computer without you around, they have seen a vagina. Sorry? I’d be more worried about the video games where they have to murder prostitutes in a pool of blood to get to the next level than I would be about them seeing a nipple.

And for everyone losing their minds about this: Why haven’t you gone after Tumblr? If Vine is based on who you follow for content, as Tumblr is, then you can choose if you want to see explicit images. I regularly scroll past porn .gifs or nude photography on my dashboard. Either I take a second and admire some chick’s boobs or I move on. My pearls remain un-clutched. It’s a side effect of using Tumblr’s free services. Sometimes you gotta scroll past a dick or whatever.

I guess I just don’t see why every media outlet is acting like Vine is the ONLY WAY people will accidentally (or purposefully) see porn on the internet, like the internet isn’t a minefield of porn already. We’re humans. Give us a photo or video sharing app and we will fill it with what comes naturally. Let’s not act like this is surprising or even terrible. People have been turning stuff into porn since people were invented.

This Vine stuff is mostly just predictable. Yay humans! We are the grossest and I love us. TC Mark

Gaby Dunn

Gaby Dunn is a writer, comedian, journalist and Jesse Eisenberg enthusiast living in Los Angeles. Email her at: …

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