Twitter has decided to clamp down on the posting of explicit sexual content on its Vine video-sharing service.
The company said it did not have a problem with such content on the Internet, but did not want to be the source for it.
A number of social networks already have rules in some form or the other prohibiting sexually explicit content. Facebook, for example, prohibits the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved, besides placing limitations on the display of nudity.
Twitter said it removes obscene or pornographic images in user profile photos, header photos, or background images, but does not regulate tweets that link to content on external websites, including pornography.
Launched in January last year, the Vine app was plagued with a large number of posts with pornographic content, which led Twitter to experiment with a number of ways to counter the problem, including reportedly restricting certain hashtags that could lead to such content.
Vine said it had found that there is a very small percentage of videos that are not "a good fit" for its community of users.
"For more than 99 percent of our users, this doesn't really change anything. For the rest: we don't have a problem with explicit sexual content on the Internet ---- we just prefer not to be the source of it," Vine said in a blog post Thursday.
On a support page, Vine defined explicit sexual content as including "depictions of sex acts, nudity that is sexually provocative or in a sexual context, and graphic depictions of sexual arousal." It said it would allow depictions of nudity or partial nudity that are mainly documentary, educational or artistic in nature, and also suggestive posts. Videos of nude protesters, a mother breastfeeding her baby and nude modeling in an art class were cited by Vine as instances of permitted posts.
Users who post content that violates the new policy may be suspended until they remove the violating content. Severe or repeated violations could lead to permanent suspension. Vine said it will rely on user reports to identify offensive content.
The Vine app, which allows uses to capture and post short, looping videos, is currently available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices.