Pornhub Has Removed 10 Million Videos From Its Website: Here’s Why


Pornhub has removed over 10 million videos accounting for the majority of the content on its website after receiving backlash from prominent payment partners – Mastercard and Visa.

An investigation by the payment giants found that several of the videos uploaded to the platform by unverified users featured underage or sex-trafficked participants.

Problems started for Pornhub after an article by the New York Times heavily criticized the porn website for hosting non-consensual sex videos that have caused unrelenting trauma to those whose videos have been uploaded without their consent.

Soon, pressure started mounting on Pornhub after Paypal severed all ties with it and other credit card partners – Mastercard and Visa launched an investigation. In response, Pornhub announced strict measures like restricting unverified users from uploading any videos to the platform and disabling the feature to download videos once it has been uploaded. Pornhub also promised that it will roll out a comprehensive and strict verification program for general users sometime in 2021.

Announcing its decision in a blog post, Pornhub said: “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. 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.”

Since removing user-uploaded videos this morning, the video count on the website has dropped from around 13 million to 4 million.

While Pornhub beat its chest by acknowledging its efforts to combat videos of non-consensual sex on its platform, it also mentioned that Pornhub is being targeted not because of its policies but the fact that it is an adult content platform. It blamed the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (formerly known as Morality in Media) and Exodus Cry/TraffickingHub for spearheading the campaign against the company.

Implications of Pornhub’s Decision on Sex Workers

While Pornhub’s decision to remove millions of user-uploaded videos from its platform is a welcome step towards purging the internet of illegal and non-consensual videos, it could pose problems for sex workers who are already facing a difficult time due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Several sex workers and performers rely on the porn platform’s monetization program for their livelihood.

Earlier, anyone can create an account on the platform and upload videos. It made tracking of offenders virtually difficult. However, now, Pornhub verifies users only when they submit their photo while holding a piece of paper with their username written on it.

The Sex Workers Outreach Project Behind Bars, a global community of sex workers, labeled the attack on Pornhub a “war against sex workers.” In a statement, the group said that this will push more sex workers on the margin.

We say ‘war against sex workers’ because the damage they do does not impact labor as much as it affects laborers who depend on the Pornhub platform to earn a living,” read the statement from SWOP Behind Bars.

Anmol Sachdeva

Anmol Sachdeva

Anmol is a tech journalist who handles reportage of cybersecurity and Apple and OnePlus devices at Fossbytes. He's an ambivert who is striving hard to appease existential crisis by eating, writing, and scrolling through memes.
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