How Vine Put Hardcore Porn In Front Of Its Entire Userbase

Countless Vine users were surprised to find explicit pornography in their video feeds. Pretty big, as far as launch glitches go.

Vine, Twitter’s new video service, is only interesting if you follow a lot of people. So to make sure its new users aren’t bored, Vine automatically includes “Editor’s Picks” in users’ feeds. Most are harmless: lots of food, some stop-motion animation. But today, Vine users found something unusual in their feeds: porn.

“Dildoplay,” by user NSFWVine, had been included in the popular feed. And because Vine videos play automatically as you scroll past, quite a few people saw the six-second video in full, and not by choice. Users are upset:

This weekend, Vine added tap-to-play functionality for videos that were flagged by users as offensive or pornographic. A quick scan of the #NSFW suggests that not much flagging is taking place, yet.

The main, and somewhat bewildering, issue here is that the video was pushed not only to the Editor’s Pick page, but to virtually all of the service’s active users.

We’ve reached out to the company for comment, and barring some kind of rogue employee or prank, here’s what may have happened. Update: Twitter has blamed the incident, vaguely, on “human error.”

— The app’s “Editor’s Picks” could have been chosen not by an editor but by some kind of algorithm, based on likes and comments. If so, this porn video wasn’t fully chosen by a human, it was chosen by a machine.

— This weekend, Vine got attention from major websites regarding the appearance of porn on the service. (Nudity is not against Vine’s terms of service, nor Twitter’s.) People looking for said porn by searching for “NSFW” or simply “#porn” could have easily come across the post in question, “liking” it into the Editor’s Choice feed.

— Vine is a new service, designed largely without Twitter in mind. The like/comment thresholds set to trigger an “Editor’s Choice” nomination may have been set before the service’s acquisition by Twitter, which brought huge scale.

Vine has since removed the video from its feed. Based on what we understand about how Twitter will handle Vine’s content policy, porn will remain on the service.

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