Pornhub purges millions of videos in major shift for adult industry

Adult entertainment tube site Pornhub has removed more than half of its videos in a major shift in the industry from parent company MindGeek.

While holding the closest thing to a monopoly in the industry, MindGeek has done little to curb piracy and illegal content across its sites, with more than half of Pornhub’s content coming from unverified accounts.

Much of this had gone unchecked for years, but a recent expose from the New York Times shone a spotlight on the website – not just for housing pirated content but as a hub for trafficking and images of child sexual abuse. Many of these complaints have historically been unaddressed by Pornhub and its parent company, with limited oversight to the content uploaded to the site.

This negative PR storm was compounded last week when Mastercard and Visa both announced that they would prohibit use of their cards on the site. Both of the credit card companies said that they would suspend payments to MindGeek and undertake a thorough investigation.

While not all of the content uploaded by unverified accounts is illegal or pirated, Pornhub has undergone “a fundamental shift” reports Vice, and has removed millions of videos from its platform. The outlet noted that the number of videos on the website was reduced from around 13.5 million on Sunday night to around 4.7 million videos on Monday morning. This is a fluctuating number as the site’s tracking gets updated.

Demonstrating the severity of this purge is the removal of the website’s most-viewed non-verified amateur video of all time which had more than 29 million views.

Users looking to upload content must now be a verified content partner or member of its model programme.

While showing a willingness to change, Pornhub went on the offensive when announcing the change in a blog post.

“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 statement reads. “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.”

The post compares Pornhub favourably to other online platforms, saying that “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.”

The statement concludes that “we hope we have demonstrated our dedication to leading by example.”

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