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Vine says no to porn

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Possibly wary of becoming the go-to site for fans of six-second videos featuring performing genitalia, Vine has moved to ban porn from its service.

“As we’ve watched the community and your creativity grow and evolve, we’ve found that there’s a very small percentage of videos that are not a good fit for our community,” the Vine team said in a roundabout way on its blog Thursday. But then it all becomes perfectly clear: “So we’re making an update to our Rules and Terms of Service to prohibit explicit sexual content.”

Vine said that “more than 99 percent” of users won’t notice anything different, but for the others, there’s likely to be a decreasing amount of pornographic material to peruse in the coming days, weeks and months.

'We don’t have a problem with explicit sexual content ... we just prefer not to be the source of it.'

- Vine company statement

“We don’t have a problem with explicit sexual content on the Internet,” Vine said in its post, adding, “We just prefer not to be the source of it.”

Some nudity OK, but forget ‘aroused genitals underneath clothing’
In a new article in its Help Center, Twitter-owned Vine goes into more detail about what’s no longer accepted, so if you’re a porn performer keen to get your kit out for a six-second show, read on.

According to the new rules, videos showing “sex acts, whether alone or with another person,” are no longer welcome. Those showing “the use of sex toys for sex acts” are also now banned.

Vine videos that focus on exposed genitalia are also out of the question, and you can even forget close-ups of “aroused genitals underneath clothing.” Vine’s having none of it.

But fear not, exhibitionists, for nudity is allowed. Lots of it. Nudity in a documentary context gets a green light from the Vine team, as does nudity in an artistic context. “Clothed sexually suggestive dancing” has also been deemed fit for the video site.

Rule breakers beware
Anyone who breaks the new rules could have their account suspended until they remove the violating videos, Vine said.

It’s not clear why the changes have come in now. It’s possible there’s been an uptick in the amount of porn posted to the site, a situation that may have caused Vine to worry it might be kicked out of the iTunes Store, a fate which befell the 500px app last year over an issue regarding nude content. Or perhaps the recent Vine video showing a guy doing the deed with a ham and cheese Hot Pocket was simply a transgression too far. [500px, for the record, has since returned to Apple's online store.]

When Vine launched just over a year ago, its seemingly laid back attitude to adult material was a big talking point. Its terms and conditions made no mention of it, focusing instead on things like copyright infringement, spam and harassment.

Over the past 12 months or so, the short-video app has been trying to keep porn out of general view by ensuring it doesn’t appear in ‘popular’ listings or Editor’s Picks. Speaking of Editor’s Picks, there was a bit of a rumpus last year when, just four days after Vine launched in the iTunes Store, an explicit video featuring a woman and a sex toy turned up as a top pick.

“Human error” was blamed.