Pornhub Just Deleted Most Of The Content Off Its Site, Permanently

By Drew Dietsch | 1 month ago

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Pornhub has made the drastic decision to remove all of its user-uploaded content. The choice comes after a tumultuous week that saw a New York Times Opinion piece that highlighted child abuse victims who had videos uploaded to the site. Shortly after that article was posted, Visa and Mastercard decided to halt processing any incoming payments from the site. As of now, the adult site has instituted a rule that only verified users may upload content.

In the statement from Pornhub regarding the decision, the company points out that the sudden attack on their platform seems to be motivated by anti-pornography and anti-sex work advocates. “It is clear that Pornhub is being targeted not because of our policies and how we compare to our peers, but because we are an adult content platform,” the announcement said. “The two groups that have spearheaded the campaign against our company are the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (formerly known as Morality in Media) and Exodus Cry/TraffickingHub. These are organizations dedicated to abolishing pornography, banning material they claim is obscene, and shutting down commercial sex work. These are the same forces that have spent 50 years demonizing Playboy, the National Endowment for the Arts, sex education, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and even the American Library Association. Today, it happens to be Pornhub.”

There is very likely some veracity to Pornhub’s claim of being targeted. The Internet Watch Foundation, a third-party group that monitors and tracks child abuse content, found 118 instances of child sexual abuse content on Pornhub over a three year period. Meanwhile, Facebook‘s own transparency report discovered 84 million instances of child sexual abuse content on its platform. However, the same intense scrutiny does not seem to be applied to Facebook.

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While this new approach to content will hopefully be successful in eliminating child sexual abuse content on Pornhub, the fallout from it is already affecting legitimate sex workers who use the platform for their livelihoods. Visa and Mastercard are still keeping themselves removed from the platform, and many sex workers are worried that this decision could begin spreading to other smaller platforms. If that is the case, a lot of sex workers could see themselves put into more risky situations than what was originally offered through platforms like Pornhub.

There is also the matter of Pornhub becoming something of an untended marketplace for free pirated content. The company became known for having full versions of pirated movies available from user uploads. There is also a lot of non-pornographic material that users have hosted over the years. All of this has been completely removed in the purge and any videos that were once uploaded are undergoing verification and review. It is likely that the total freedom users had to upload anything they wanted has been removed forever.

Pornhub believes that their decision to only allow verified users to upload material is a move that other major content platforms should look to in the future. “In today’s world, all social media platforms share the responsibility to combat illegal material. Solutions must be driven by real facts and real experts,” the site’s official announcement says. “We hope we have demonstrated our dedication to leading by example.” Could this be the start of a new era in social media where users need to go through some sort of verification process before they are allowed to upload content to a company’s platform?

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There is no doubt that this change to Pornhub will have a ripple effect throughout the entire adult industry. We will have to wait and see just how big the after-effects of this decision will be, and whether or not other companies look to Pornhub and see if their approach might work for other services.

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