Pornhub purges all unverified content

Posted on Tuesday, Dec 15 2020 @ 22:27 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Nine days ago Pornhub landed itself in hot water as an exposé by a New York Times columnist pulled massive attention to several issues that remained under the radar of the general public for far too long. If you don’t know the site, and the odds are probably low, Pornhub is one of the most popular porn websites in the world.

The site is based in Canada, it went online in 2007 and is modeled after YouTube, albeit with fewer clothes. At the moment, Pornhub is the third most visited porn site and the tenth most visited website in the world. Just like YouTube, the main functionality is free to use and users can upload their own videos.

Millions of videos are uploaded every year but not always with good intentions. Besides issues with copyright, the NY Times article illustrated that a lot of content on Pornhub contain nonconsensual footage and other unlawful materials. Revenge porn can be an example of this and once a video has found its way to the site it’s very hard (if not impossible) to purge it from the Internet.

The NY Times piece put Pornhub in the public spotlight and the allegations that the company behind Pornhub is profiting from illegal content prompted Visa and Mastercard to launch an investigation into the site. This resulted in both payment processors denying Pornhub further access to their services. Discover also cut ties and PayPal plus American Express already had the site on the no-fly list. This makes it impossible for Pornhub to continue with mainstream payment processors. Besides making it more complicated for Pornhub to receive money from customers and advertisers, this is also making it harder for verified sex workers to earn money via the site.

Finding itself trapped in a corner, Pornhub took unprecedented action by radically changing its business model. Little more than a day ago, the site purged almost two-thirds of all user uploaded content. Pornhub now gives access to just 2.9 million videos, a far cry from the 13.5 million videos that were available last week. If your favorite videos are gone, you may need to search for a replacement via a site like The Porn Map. Pornhub was a primary place of content for a lot of people but a lot of the site's content is now gone forever.

So what has changed? As it stands right now, Pornhub is no longer allowing unverified content on its platform. Only verified content partners and members of the Pornhub Model Program can upload new content. Furthermore, all previously uploaded content that was submitted by unverified uploaders has been suspended.

In a blog post, Pornhub claims it’s being singled out because they are an adult content platform. Pornhub claims mainstream social media platforms like Facebook have the same issue, and perhaps even host more illegal content.