Vine posts amateur porn as "editor's pick"

Twitter's new "long photo" app goes x-rated.

Vine, Twitter's new "long photo" app, showed a lot of promise when it launched this weekend. I liked its potential, particularly in creating a new type of media. And while there has been some scaremongering about its potential for supporting amateur porn, I had dismissed it as nothing.

But today, for a little over ten minutes, the top "editor's pick" — that is, the video at the top of everyone's feed, auto-subscribed to on download — was hardcore porn. It's hard to see Vine surviving this unscathed.

Quite why or how the six second clip — apparently recorded from a monitor — ended up as the editor's pick is unclear, but it has now been removed.

This picture, from the Guardian's Joanna Geary — I can confirm its accuracy, but neglected to save a picture myself before it was taken down — shows what was displayed to users upon opening the app:

Users did need to click to see, but many — myself included — will have assumed that the actual video was likely to be innocuous, since it was, after all, recommended by the service itself.

I am awaiting comment from Vine explaining how and why this happened, but the fact that it happened at all is not good for the company, or for Twitter itself.

Update:

A Twitter spokesperson responds:

"A human error resulted in a video with adult content becoming one of the videos in Editor's Picks, and upon realizing this mistake we removed the video immediately. We apologize to our users for the error."

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Show Hide image

Buying into broadband’s bigger picture

Reliable internet access must be viewed as a basic necessity, writes Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet.

 

As we hurtle towards a connected future, in which the internet will underpin most aspects of our daily lives, connectivity will become a necessity and not a luxury. As a society, we need to consider the wider benefits of enabling internet connections for all and ensure no corner of the county is left out of the digital loop.

Currently, despite government incentive schemes and universal service obligations, the rollout of broadband is left largely to the market, which relies on fixed and wireless network operators justifying deployment based on their own business models. The commercial justification for broadband deployment relies on there being sufficient demand and enough people to pay for a broadband subscription. Put flippantly, are there enough people willing to pay for Netflix, or Amazon? However, rather than depending on the broad appeal of consumer services we need to think more holistically about the provision of internet services. If road building decisions followed the same approach, it would equate to only building a road if everyone living in the area bought yearly gym membership for the leisure centre at the end of the new tarmac. The business case is narrow, and overlooks the far-reaching and ultimately more impactful benefits that are available.

Internet is infrastructure as much as roads are, and could easily prove attractive to a wider range of companies investing in digital technology who stand to gain from internet-enabled communities. Health services are one of the most compelling business cases for internet connectivity, especially in remote, rural communities that are often in the “final five per cent” or suffering with below average internet speeds. Super-fast broadband, defined as 30 Mbps, is now available to 89 per cent of UK homes, but only 59 per cent of rural dwellings can access these speeds.

We mustn’t assume this is a minority; rural areas make up 85 per cent of English land and almost ten million people (almost a fifth of the population) live in rural communities. This figure is rising, and ageing ‒ on average, 23.5 per cent of the rural population is over 65 compared to 16.3 per cent in urban areas ‒ and this presents complicated healthcare challenges for a NHS already struggling to meet demand. It goes without saying that accessibility is an issue: only 80 per cent of rural residents live within 4km of a GP’s surgery compared to 98 per cent of the urban population.

While the NHS may not have the resources to build more surgeries and hospitals, robust broadband connections in these areas would enable them to roll out telehealth options and empower their patients with healthcare monitoring apps and diagnostic tools. This would lower demand on face-to-face services and could improve the health of people in remote areas; a compelling business case for broadband.

We can’t afford to rely on “one business case to rule them all” when it comes to internet connectivity – the needs run far beyond Netflix and Spotify, and the long-term, economic and social benefits are vast. It’s time to shift our thinking, considering internet connectivity as essential infrastructure and invest in it accordingly, especially when it comes to the needs of the remote, rural areas of the country.

Russell Haworth joined Nominet as CEO in 2015. He leads the organisation as it develops its core registry business, explores the potential of new technologies in the global internet sector, and delivers on its commitment to ensuring the internet is a force for good.

This article was taken from a New Statesman roundtable supplement "The Internet as Infrastructure: Why rural connectivity is crucial to the UK’s success"

0800 7318496