Vine is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 4:3 aspect ratio typically used by mobile device cameras. Users can also apply digital filters to their images. The maximum duration for Instagram videos is 15 seconds.
Vine was founded by Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll in June 2012. The company was acquired by Twitter in October 2012 for a reported $30 million. Vine officially launched on January 24, 2013 as a free app for iOS devices. On June 2, 2013, an Android version was released. In a couple of months, Vine became the most used video sharing application in the market, even with low adoption of the app. On April 9, 2013, Vine became the most-downloaded free app within the iOS App Store and on May 1, 2014, Vine launched the web version of the service to explore videos.
Vine enables users to record short video clips up to around six seconds long while recording through its in-app camera. The camera records only while the screen is being touched, enabling users to edit on the fly or create stop motion effects. Additional features were added to the app in July 2013; these include grid and ghost image tools for the camera, curated channels (including themed areas and trending topics/users), the ability to "revine" videos on a personal stream, and protected posts. In July 2014, Vine updated their app with a new "loop count" meaning every time someone watches a vine, a number on top of the video will appear showing how many times it was viewed. The "loop count" also includes views from vines that are embedded onto other websites.
Vine has attracted different types of uses, including short-form comedy and music performances, and stop motion animation. The service has also been used for journalism: on February 1, 2013, a Turkish journalist used it to document the aftermath of a suicide bombing outside the United States embassy in Turkey, for which he found that 6 seconds of video covered all the important details. Vine has also gained ground as a promotional tool; in 2013, the track listing of Daft Punk's album Random Access Memories was revealed via a Vine video, and on September 9, 2013, Dunkin Donuts became the first company to use a single Vine as an entire television advertisement.
Music-orientated videos have also had success on the service; in July 2013, a Vine post featuring a group of women twerking to the 2012 song "Don't Drop That Thun Thun" became viral, spawned response videos, and led the previously-obscure song to peak at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In March 2013, 22 Vines were presented in an exhibit entitled #SVAES (The Shortest Video Art Ever Sold) at the Moving Image art fair in New York City. Copies of the videos were available to purchase on thumb drives for US$200 each. Angela Washko's "Tits on Tits on Ikea" was sold to Dutch art advisor, curator and collector Myriam Vanneschi during the event, marking the first ever sale of a Vine as art.
A BBC review described collections of Vine videos to be "mesmerizing", like "[watching a] bewildering carousel of six-second slices of ordinary life [roll] past." Soon after its launch, Vine faced criticism for how it handled pornography; while porn is not forbidden by Twitter's guidelines, one sexually explicit clip was accidentally featured as an "Editor's Pick" in the Vine app as a result of "human error". Because pornographic content violates Apple's terms of service, the app's rating was changed to 17+ in February 2013 following a request by Apple. Causing such a backlash because of the "Editor's Pick", many Vine users said they would stop using the app. Twitter soon begun terminating such videos that appeared on the homepage. In reaction, Twitter has updated their Terms of Service stating that they reserve the right to remove any posts that are "pornographic or sexually explicit" without the user's consent. Vine was listed among Time's 50 Best Android Apps for 2013.