Pornhub suspends over 10 million videos to eradicate illegal content

Roughly 13.5 million videos hosted on Pornhub are now reduced to only 2.9 million.

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Pornhub has suspended millions of videos in a site-wide purge following accusations that the company has been hosting illegal content.

Pornhub is one of the largest adult pornographic content providers online, accounting for at least 115 million visits per day. However, the platform, owned by MindGeek, was rocked to its core on Sunday night when a New York Times report claimed that Pornhub was allowing videos relating to sexual abuse and minors to be uploaded by its community. 

The claims related to videos showing child abuse, revenge porn, spycam feeds, and more. Pornhub defended itself quickly, calling the accusations "irresponsible and flagrantly untrue."

However, the idea of being linked to a website monetizing this form of content meant that payment service providers who previously worked with Pornhub, including Mastercard and Visa, was not one that these third-parties could ignore.

As a result, Visa has launched an ongoing investigation into these claims and has temporarily suspended payment services. Mastercard, too, terminated the use of its cards on Pornhub after verifying through an independent investigation that illegal content was being hosted on the pornographic content platform. 

Pornhub then made sweeping changes, only allowing verified uploaders and members of its Model Program to upload new content, revoking free-for-all uploads -- and downloads -- for free users. 

The company also promised to increase the scope of existing moderation platforms. 

An investigation by Motherboard on Monday found that millions of videos have, so far, been suspended. As noted by the publication, Pornhub once hosted 13.5 million videos according to the platform's search bar. As of Monday, this figure plummeted to 4.7 million videos. 

At the time of writing, this figure is now only 2.9 million, which at the current time, means 10.6 million videos have been suspended. 

If a video has not passed this new round of moderation, a notice is displayed informing visitors that the content needs verifying "in accordance with our trust and safety policy." 

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What all of this means is that Pornhub has, at least temporarily -- pending inspections -- removed the majority of the video content on the platform that has not been uploaded by verified uploaders. 

Pornhub said in a blog post on Monday that the company has now partnered with over 40 non-profits that have "a direct line of access to our moderation team" and any content flagged by these organizations will be immediately disabled.

"We have now also suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by content partners or members of the Model Program," Pornhub 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."

The company believes it is being unfairly targeted as an adult platform involved in the sex work business, saying that two entities spearheading campaigns against Pornhub, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and Exodus Cry/TraffickingHub, "are organizations dedicated to abolishing pornography, banning material they claim is obscene, and shutting down commercial sex work."

"In today's world, all social media platforms share the responsibility to combat illegal material. Solutions must be driven by real facts and real experts," Pornhub says. "We hope we have demonstrated our dedication to leading by example."

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