Twitter’s video platform sparks controversy

Twitter unveiled Vine – an iOS app for uploading six-second videos last week; and five days later, it’s already in the spotlight for being a medium for sharing male genitalia and pornographic movies taped off TVs and laptops.

Though Twitter – which has always been known for its advocacy in freedom of expression – doesn’t have a statement that forbids sexually explicit content aside from a general encouragement for good judgment, Vine users can flag offensive videos, which will garner a warning in the beginning if enough flags were raised for that clip.

In the light of the situation, however, Twitter blogged that it is now willing to withhold content from users in a specific country that have generated complaints due to local restrictions. The rest of the world, however, will still be able to see it.

Through Vine – which Twitter acquired last fall, users can record clips up to six seconds and can choose to have sound on or off. The mentality behind the project, said Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann, is “about abbreviation”.

“Posts on Vine are the shortened form of something larger. They're little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They're quirky, and we think that's part of what makes them so special,” he said in a blog post.

Despite the controversy, businesses have been taking advantage of the new app. Gap, for example, went down the memory lane with shots of its old campaigns; online social news website BuzzFeed (pictured) featured its employees showing off its moves while MSNBC revealed the behind the scenes of its newsroom.