Pornhub removes all unverified content, following reports of exploitation

Adult video giant Pornhub this week announced that it has taken the unprecedented step of removing millions of user-uploaded videos. The move, which the Canadian-born site calls “the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history,” arrives in the wake of a New York Times opinion piece that stated the “site is infested with rape videos.”

Pornhub announced last week that it would be limiting uploads to only verified users. Now, as noted by Motherboard, the service has suspended all videos for the site not uploaded by existing partners or members of its Model program. Suspended content will be subject to review by Pornhub early next year.

The service noted in a statement that the new model is arguably the strictest instituted by a content platform. “This means every piece of Pornhub content is from verified uploaders,” it writes, “a requirement that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter have yet to institute.”

The Times offered reports — some first-hand — of graphic exploitation. “I don’t see why search engines, banks or credit card companies should bolster a company that monetizes sexual assaults on children or unconscious women,” Nicholas Kristof wrote. “If PayPal can suspend cooperation with Pornhub, so can American Express, Mastercard and Visa.”

Major credit card companies ultimately followed suit. Last week Discover announced that it would cut ties with the service, following similar moves by Mastercard and Visa. That added incentive no doubt further pressured Pornhub to take even more aggressive action than already announced.

In a statement, the site noted that watchdog group Internet Watch Foundation discovered 118 instances of child sexual abuse on the platform. The service calls the number “118 too many.” The service was defensive in its report, believing it has been singled out due to its focus on adult content.

“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 service writes. “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.”

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