Pornhub makes drastic changes after rape and abuse content exposed on site

Pornhub will be limiting uploads to only verified users, and stopping downloads for all viewers

Adam Smith
Wednesday 09 December 2020 11:03

Pornhub has announced changes to its content policies to only allow verified profiles to upload content, days after a report about videos on its platform that were not consensually uploaded.

In a blog post, the pornography giant said that only content partners and people within the company’s own ‘Model Program’ would be able to upload videos; in the new year, it will be opening up verification so any user could upload content.

Pornhub is also banning the ability to download videos, and is expanding its moderation policies specifically to flag illegal material through what the company calls a “Red Team”.

“Additionally, while the list of banned keywords on Pornhub is already extensive, we will continue to identify additional keywords for removal on an ongoing basis. We will also regularly monitor search terms within the platform for increases in phrasings that attempt to bypass the safeguards in place”, the company said.

It will also be releasing its first transparency report in 2021, documenting the results of its content moderation policies as well as reports filed with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Pornhub claims that the changes to its site come as a result of an independent review conducted in April focusing on “meeting legal standards and eliminating all non-consensual content”.

The New York Times reported last week that the site had issues with child pornography, trafficking, and rape. Videos could be downloaded from Pornhub’s website at the time, which meant that “even if a rape video is removed at the request of the authorities, it may already be too late”.

Moreover, the Times reported that Pornhub “recently offered playlists with names including ‘less than 18,’ ‘the best collection of young boys’ and ‘under- - age.’” Pornhub told the Times that any assertion that the company allows child videos on the site “is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.”

Mastercard, which is used by Pornhub for payments, said it would be investigating the claims. “We are … working with MindGeek’s bank to understand this situation, in addition to the other steps they have already taken,” Mastercard said. “If the claims are substantiated, we will take immediate action.”

Visa made a similar statement, saying that if Pornhub was found to be not complying with laws the pornography website would no longer be able to accept payments.

Pornhub did not immediately report to a request for comment from The Independent.

Last year an anonymous woman claimed that she found herself on Pornhub without her consent, and attempts to take down the video were “next to impossible”, according to pornography campaigner Kate Isaacs.

Ms Isaacs claimed that the site actively suggests searches like “leaked sex tapes” or “stolen videos”; Pornhub said at the time the company had no record of the woman’s email and "the most progressive anti-revenge-porn policy in the industry".

An online petition accusing Pornhub of profiting from videos of rape and abuse reached over 388,000 signatures in March this year, sparked by US anti-trafficking organisation Exodus Cry.

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