Pornhub deletes millions of videos

 

Pornhub has deleted most of the videos on its site as the platform loses payment partners following a backlash over illegal and depraved content, but the site argues it's being unduly targeted in a moral crusade seeking to punish its status as a hub for porn.

The controversial site has been in the crosshairs for a seemingly laissez-faire approach to content moderation that allowed videos to remain up without verifying the consent of the people in them, videos that in some cases even featured child sexual abuse.

Last week, Pornhub brought in what it claims are "the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history".

It's now banned unverified uploaders from posting new content as well as stopped users downloading videos from the site.

The site also deleted videos that weren't from its own content partners or members of its Only Fans-esque "Model Program".

More than 10 million videos have been removed from the site and there are now less than 3 million on there.

Pornhub averages over 100 billion views a year by its own metrics.

Despite making more than 10 million videos disappear off the platform in the space of a few hours, Pornhub is yet to get around to updating a message at the bottom of its site, that claims the Pornhub team is "always updating and adding more porn videos every day".

RELATED: Pornhub 'actively profited from my child rape'

A tale of two search bars: On Sunday night there were more than 13.5 million videos on Pornhub. Picture: Wayback Machine Internet Archive
A tale of two search bars: On Sunday night there were more than 13.5 million videos on Pornhub. Picture: Wayback Machine Internet Archive


The site is also expanding its moderation efforts, with a newly created "Red Team" that will be "dedicated solely to self-auditing the platform for potentially illegal material".

It's also promised to release a transparency report next year.

Pornhub argues the new steps it has taken put it ahead of the most popular social media platforms.

"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," the company said in a blog post.

It also accused them of being a bigger contributor to the spread of exploitative content, calling out Facebook in particular.

"Over the last three years, Facebook self-reported 84 million instances of child sexual abuse material. During that same period, the independent, third-party Internet Watch Foundation reported 118 incidents on Pornhub."

The company qualified "that is still 118 too many, which is why we are committed to taking every necessary action".

Facebook has around 3 billion registered users, while Pornhub only has around 20 million.

Pornhub's page extolling the benefits of its Model Program.
Pornhub's page extolling the benefits of its Model Program.


Last week news.com.au reported survivors were having to search for videos of their own abuse to ask the site to take them down, and Pornhub's download feature (now eliminated) meant that even if videos were removed they often reappeared soon after.

Similarly, the  New York Times published an op-ed with disturbing details of missing children appearing in exploitative videos on the site.

MasterCard and Visa last week announced they'd stop processing payments to the site, with MasterCard even vowing it wouldn't return.

PayPal already stopped payments to Pornhub last year.

Pornhub said in its announcement it was committed to trust and safety and was "leading by example" as it called for solutions "driven by real facts and real experts", saying "all social media platforms share the responsibility to combat illegal material".

Its somewhat cheeky brand image has disguised Pornhub’s darker side.
Its somewhat cheeky brand image has disguised Pornhub’s darker side.


The company appears to consider itself a social media platform, but said it was being unduly targeted because of the kind of content it typically traffics in.

"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 company argued.

It said it was the latest victim of a campaign being "spearheaded" by "organisations dedicated to abolishing pornography, banning material they claim is obscene, and shutting down commercial sex work", naming the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation (formerly known as Morality in Media) and Exodus Cry/TraffickingHub.

"These are the same forces that have spent 50 years demonising 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," the company said.

"PORNHUB IS DEAD"

Reaction to the site's announcement has been somewhat mixed among its users.

Commenting on the blog post, users declared the site "dead" and lamented the loss of "true amateur" content, while verified creators solicited their clicks.

"RIP the true amateur porn on this site, now it's just Only Fans 2.0," a user with an unpublishable pun on Star Wars character Obi Wan Kenobi's name lamented.

"Don't worry, I'm still here," one verified member said, echoing the sentiment of several others, including one who explained what the changes meant for them.

"It is entirely possible to upload amateur content - you just have to be willing to verify to Pornhub who you are," the account user said.

"It's simply a case of being accountable at some level for the content you make to ensure that the bad actors are weeded out of the system as much as possible," they added.

"Ultimately, this can be good for amateur and semi-pro producers (like me) and models, if relationships with the credit card providers can be mended."

Other users took a dimmer view.

"The question is, is sacrificing most of your user base worth getting back in the good graces of MasterCard?" One asked.

"They needed to trim a few branches, but chose to cut the whole tree down," another said. "They will never regain the trust of people that work so hard to provide content."

Other users reported that even though they were verified their content had been deleted, with one producer of BDSM content reporting it's now "considered non-consensual".

Originally published as Pornhub deletes millions of videos

There are now less than 3 million videos on the site.
There are now less than 3 million videos on the site.
Pornhub is known for their occasional suggestive billboards.
Pornhub is known for their occasional suggestive billboards.

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