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Pornhub deletes millions of user-generated videos after public backlash

A New York Times investigation revealed that videos on the adult-content site depicted incidents of rape and violence.

Image: PA

PORNOGRAPHY WEBSITE PORNHUB has removed millions of user-uploaded content after a public backlash lead to increased scrutiny of the site’s policies and its content.

This comes after an investigation from the New York Times called ‘The Children of Pornhub’, which reported finding videos depicting child sex abuse and rape on the site.

After the article highlighted that Pornhub allows anyone to upload videos, and anyone can download directly from the site, Pornhub announced new curbs on this meaning that only “properly identified users” can now upload videos, and downloads are now banned.

Today, the site announced that it has also “suspended” all previous user-generated videos uploaded to the site; this represents the vast majority of the site’s content. Vice reported that there were around 13.5 million videos before the user-generated videos were removed, and 7.2 million afterwards.

Concerns had been raised that allowing anyone to upload videos made revenge porn, videos of underage teenagers and videos being uploaded without the person’s consent a serious and widespread concern.

In a statement announcing the change today, the company said:

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.

In the statement, Pornhub also compared its response to what social media companies like Facebook are doing to combat abusive content, and said that the site was being “targeted not because of our policies and how we compare to our peers, but because we are an adult-content platform”.

“We hope we have demonstrated our dedication to leading by example,” it concluded.

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The NYT report brought to a head a controversy simmering in Canada, where Pornhub is based, after 20 lawmakers urged the justice minister in a November open letter to take swift action against both Pornhub and parent company MindGeek.

The growing public backlash has seen more than two million people back a petition to shut it down, and led Mastercard to block payments to Pornhub, with Visa following suit.

Pornhub called this “exceptionally disappointing,” pointing to the changes it had made following the investigation.

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