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How Private is Twitter’s New “Vine” Service?

Twitter VineTwitter is the world’s second biggest social network (although Google+ is now in a very close third place), with much of the appeal coming from the ability to interact with strangers on a variety of topics, sharing links, pictures, and now videos. But just how private is this information?

Twitter’s new “Vine” service allows users to take a six-second video clip using an iPhone, iPad or iPod and post it to Vine, Twitter or Facebook. While Twitter and Facebook let you limit who sees your posts, however, there’s no such feature for Vine.

For Twitter’s new service, as soon as you post a video you lose all control over who views or interacts with it. You can delete comments, but you can’t block or report users, so they could come back again and again.

This is particularly worrying for victims of cyber bullying, as bullies could use this lack of control to attack their victims online without repercussions. Scary. If you have a child or relative that’s heavily involved in social media, you might want to discuss this part of the service with them before allowing them to use the new software.

The service is also at the mercy of online trolls – people who deliberately leave abusive or infuriating comments. Without any way to block persist offenders, trolls could run riot on the service, turning your innocent videos into forums for vicious abusive.

And there are no parental controls or “safe search”, so the service has already seen its first pornographic video (although this has since been removed).

Obviously, we hope these problems get fixed. Ideally, it will become a fun and friendly community where users can exchange entertaining video clips. Without a monitoring system, however, it’s quite possible the worst could happen.

As with all new internet services, we recommend you check out what type of people use the service before allowing your children to try it.

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