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Will Apple move in to stop Twitter's porn problem in its tracks?

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

January 29, 2013 | 4 min read

Twitter is scrambling to appease concerns after early adopters of its new video-sharing app, Vine, started using it to flash six-second porn clips to the app's users and to the larger Twitter community.

Twitter: less uptight?

CNN reported the issue was raising questions about how Apple, the only place where smartphone users can download the app, will respond after recently banning other apps that provide access to sexual content.

The issue gained attention yesterday (Monday) when Vine users noticed a video of what was described as hard-core pornography showcased in the prominent Editor's Picks section of the mobile app.

Users took to the comment section to complain. Twitter apologised Monday, saying it was a mistake.

"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," the company said in a statement to CNN. "We apologize to our users for the error."

Released only on Thursday, Vine is a Twitter-owned app that lets users create and share videos lasting up to six seconds. As with photo-sharing app Instagram, Vine users can follow other people, whose posted videos show up in a feed on their phones or can be shared on Twitter and Facebook. The app is available only for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Just last week, Apple banned image-sharing app 500px from its App Store because it could give users access to sexual content. The 500px app features artistically rendered nudes among lots of other photos, but so do other apps with user-generated content, such as Tumblr, which remain available on Apple's iOS mobile system.

The Vine app is rated 12+ on iTunes for "infrequent/mild sexual content or nudity," meaning it's deemed appropriate for users 12 or older. As of Monday, it was the fifth most popular free app in the App Store.

Apple did not immediately reply to a CNN message seeking comment for this story. Vine had been listed on Apple's own Editor's Choice list as early as Monday morning, but appeared to have been removed by Monday afternoon.

Apple observers Monday were noting the strange position the company finds itself in. Apple has famously kept tight reins on what appears in its App Store and on its mobile operating system in general. The late CEO Steve Jobs famously argued that control on the front end delivers a user experience free from porn, spam and other digital unpleasantness.

A little less than a year ago Apple banned Viddy, a video-sharing app that has been compared to Vine, because it gave access to user-generated adult videos. The Viddy app was eventually returned to the App Store.

The anything-goes aspect of Vine jibes with the site's overall philosophy, said CNN. In contrast to to Facebook, Twitter allows users to register under fake names and has fought governments and law-enforcement agencies seeking user information.

Twitter has also taken a more hands-off approach on adult content.

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