Millions of videos after investigation finds child abuse content
Pornhub has removed millions of videos – the majority of its content – after an investigation revealed a large number of them featured underaged and sex-trafficked subjects.
The popular adult content site had prohibited unverified users from posting new content after a New York Times report revealed a number of inappropriate and illegal videos, including some involving minors, causing the credit companies Visa and Mastercard to cut ties with the company and all related websites.
Now Pornhub is also removing content previously uploaded by unverified users.
“This means every piece of Pornhub content is from verified uploaders, a requirement that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter have yet to institute,” the company said in a blog posted announcing the changes. “At Pornhub, the safety of our community is our top priority.”
The purge by Monday morning brought the total number of videos on the site down from 13m to just 4m, a report from Motherboard found.
Pornhub’s removal of millions of videos may pose a significant threat to sex workers, already struggling during the pandemic, who use the platform’s sales as a source of income.
“This news is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods,” Pornhub said of the initial moves from Mastercard.
Since Pornhub’s launch in 2007, any user could upload content to the site. Now, only verified users can do so. To become verified, users are required to submit a photo of themselves holding a piece of paper with their username, according to Pornhub’s site. This makes them eligible to monetize their videos.
While the company acknowledged the severity of the accusations, it noted the campaign to crackdown on Pornhub comes from groups that have long campaigned against sex content of all kinds. In its statement, Pornhub said it is “being targeted not because of our policies and how we compare to our peers, but because we are an adult content platform”.
The groups spearheading the effort to police Pornhub include the anti-pornography groups the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (formerly known as Morality in Media) and Exodus Cry/TraffickingHub.
In the last three years, Facebook self-reported 84m instances of child sexual abuse material. During that same period, the independent, third-party Internet Watch Foundation reported 118 incidents on Pornhub.
“That is still 118 too many, which is why we are committed to taking every necessary action,” the company said.
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