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Pornhub Has Removed Millions of Videos From Its Site

Last week, we told you about the Nicholas Kristoff op ed in the New York Times exposing illegal material and abuse on Pornhub, the world’s largest porn site. The fallout from that piece has had a swift impact on the porn industry, and led to a major announcement from the site yesterday.

Kristoff revealed that PornHub was profiting from user-uploaded videos depicting rape and sexual abuse to children. Since the site’s launch in 2007, anyone could create an account on Pornhub and upload any video they wanted to, leading to much of the most problematic content. 

Last Tuesday, Pornhub responded to the public outcry and changed its policy to ban all unverified users from uploading or downloading content on the site, and said it’d be expanding its video moderation. 

Then Thursday, both Mastercard and Visa announced they’d stop processing payments on the site, and began their own investigations into illegal content on the site. Visa’s announcement specifically stated it would drop all sites owned by PornHub’s parent company, which includes a number of adult sites, including Redtube, Youporn, XTube and Brazzers.

Then this weekend, Pornhub announced it will be removing all videos from unverified sources from its site. That means deleting millions of amateur videos. 

“As part of our policy to ban unverified uploaders, we have now also suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by content partners or members of the Model Program,” according to Pornhub’s announcement. “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.”

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Before the content purge on Sunday evening, Vice reports that Pornhub hosted around 13.5 million videos according to the number displayed on the site’s search bar. On Monday morning, that search bar is showing only 4.7 million videos, meaning Pornhub removed most of the videos on its site, including the most-viewed non-verified amateur video, which had more than 29 million views. 

“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,” Pornhub’s announcement stated. “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.”

“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,” Pornhub’s announcement continued. “We hope we have demonstrated our dedication to leading by example.”

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