Pornhub will cease downloading and restrict importing as soon as billing begins

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Towards the end of 2020, Pornhub is starting to face music because of concerns about their failure to keep offensive content off their platform.

The website announced today that it will only allow uploads from verified users and partners, that downloads will be prohibited (excluding paid content from verified uploaders) and that moderation practices will be expanded. Further measures will follow in the new year.

The steps follow a devastating piece in the New York Times by columnist Nicholas Kristof from last week highlighting the tragedy and long-lasting trauma that haunts the people found in sexual abuse content in non-consensual content and material hosted on the platform exploited by children (CSAM).

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Pornhub’s parent company, MindGeek, which is managed out of Montreal and operates more than 100 other porn sites, is also in hot water with Visa and MasterCard. The two financial services giants announced this week that they would be investigating their financial ties with the company. They said they would take action if they found evidence of illegal activity, such as stopping support for payments.

This would likely affect Pornhub’s ability to receive subscription fees as well as payments for premium content.

Pornhub receives over 3.5 billion visits every month, and 1.36 million hours of video are uploaded to the site every year. Not only is it a massive operation, but it also has a great responsibility to moderate the content that people are sharing and seeing there.

In its announcement, Pornhub talked about the processes that have already been put in place to moderate content. But, as Kristof’s story shows, mistakes in these processes slide a lot through the cracks, from footage to rape and revenge porn clips to suggested searches for content involving minors.

The tragic stories of the young people in Kristof’s play who were ostracized, homeless, and suicidal show that this type of material circulated online can all too easily destroy lives – and it does so years later. It’s time for Pornhub and other similar sites to do far better.

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