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Twitter launches video-sharing app

Vine already being hailed as the ‘Instagram for video’

[Update: Since launching last week, there have been numerous reports of pornographic videos being uploading to Vine, including one that was temporarily featured on Editor's Picks! While Vine remains a ground-breaking app, the complete lack of privacy controls and the inability to block or filter out inappropriate content makes the app unsuitable for use by children at the present time.]

Twitter yesterday introduced Vine, a new video-sharing app that allows users to record and upload six-second video clips to Twitter, Facebook, and a brand new social network, also called Vine. The app drew immediate comparisons with Instagram, the immensely popular photo-sharing app and social network that was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

The app, which is free, is currently only available for iOS devices (iPhone and iPad). Once you download the app, you are asked to sign in through your Twitter account or e-mail address. After logging in, you can visit a Twitter-like profile page to set up your account and start following people. You can add people from your existing Twitter account, from Facebook, or you can add them individually by name.

Anytime someone you follow posts a video, it is added to your home screen feed. Scroll through your feed and pause on any video and it will automatically start playing, along with any audio track. Start scrolling again and the previous video stops. You can also pause any video just by tapping the screen. Each video comes with Like and Comment buttons, and you can also see all the comments that other people have posted.

If you’re not impressed by the videos in your own feed, you can visit the Explore tab and check out popular videos or sample some Editor’s Picks. You can also browse videos by topics, such as #travel, #food, #nature and #howto, or do your own search. There’s also an Activity menu, where you can see who’s following you or who has liked or commented on one of your videos.

Recording and posting a video couldn’t be simpler. Just tap the camera icon on the home page and the device’s camera will automatically be activated. Once you have your shot lined up, you press the screen to record and lift your finger to pause. You can do this as many times as you want until you have filled the six seconds. Once the video is complete, you can preview it, add a caption, and share it through Twitter and/or Facebook.

One drawback: there is currently no way to create a private Vine account. Once your account is created, your videos are searchable – and shareable – by anyone on the network. Even if you choose not to share via Twitter or Facebook, there is no way to keep your videos private in the Vine environment.

Vine is an amazing app that is sure to be immensely popular, and Twitter has confirmed that an Android version is already in the works. However, if you or your kids are planning on adding short-form videos to your social networking activity, be sure to keep those privacy limitations in mind!

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