With attention spans diminishing by the day and moments that can be captured and uploaded without a second thought, Twitter proudly presents Vine, a mobile video uploading service that allow its users to upload video content similar to Youtube. The key difference that sets this mobile app apart is the maximum allocated time per submission has been drastically reduced to six seconds and are on a constant loop. With what seems to be a more restricted setting, user creativity thrived under these conditions and many original content are available. With the added stop motion feature and ability to promptly record on your mobile or tablet device on a whim, popularity and usage of the app soared with creative users taking advantage. From the hilarious and absurd to the artistic and dramatic, many different videos can be accessed with just a swipe of the screen. As easy as it is to view these submissions, however, it can just be as easy to upload, which can cause a problem in this lightly moderated community and content issues still occur for Vine.
Recently, a push by the mobile app for a new initiative to ban all pornographic material from its service has been implemented. While there were videos and profiles that were heavily sexually promoted removed by moderators, there seems to be little to no effect in the abolishment of pornographic submissions. Since any video can be instantly uploaded without mod review, many of the material can stay view-able to users for a long time until it gets noticed by an official mod or janitor and gets deleted. Even if the user is inactive, their videos can still be searched and found with a small amount of effort, some have been posted as far back as August and are still available to view. Although Vine has deleted a few profiles with content issue, it is still troubling to find the amount of inappropriate submissions by its underage users. Poor judgement and quick accessibility has allowed many people to share moments and body parts that are typically not shared. With Vine’s current submission settings being as lax as they are, anything can be put into public display.
Child pornography is currently illegal under federal law in all 50 states. Possession and producing child pornography is punishable by law and penalties vary depending on the material and amount. Where does Vine fall under this? If there was someone who had an account was following an underage girl who submits lewd material, can all her followers be prosecuted? Without a moderator approving user submitted content, any video can surface. Although the user is fully responsible for everything and anything that is uploaded in the account, can a young girl be put to trial for mass production and distribution of sexual material with a minor if it was her own nude selfies? Can six seconds get a person twenty years in prison due to the content issue Vine still has since launch? As popular the app is and its methods so far has been successful in terms of gaining new users and viewers, Vine should very well reconsider its submission policies to perhaps discourage quick decision uploading and allow viewers, both young and old, to safely browse and explore a really good video hosting software.
Commentary by Hector Carrion