Pornhub has deleted most of its videos amidst content crackdown

Pornhub has deleted most of its videos amidst content crackdown

The pornography website Pornhub has erased millions of videos, estimated to be 60 per cent of its content, as of Monday. 

The New York Times published a report earlier this month exposing Pornhub for hosting disturbing videos that contained depictions of alleged rape and sex trafficking victims. Following the report, Mastercard and Visa announced Thursday that the use of their cards will be prohibited on the website.

In a statement on Thursday, Mastercard reported that it was “confirmed” through an investigation that there were “violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site.”

“We are instructing the financial institutions who serve MindGeek to suspend processing of payments through the Visa network,” Visa said in its own statement.

Pornhub responded by condemning the card companies, stating that they are hurting people’s livelihoods. But the moves by the credit companies appear to have prompted Pornhub into taking action by scrubbing millions of videos posted by unverified users. 

“As part of our policy to ban unverified uploaders, we have now also suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by content partners or members of the Model Program,” Pornhub announced. “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.”

“To be clear pornhub just deleted like 60% of all videos on one of the largest porn sites on the internet by flipping a switch,” reported Jason Koebler of Motherboard.

Samantha Cole of Motherboard reported on Monday, “UPDATE: number of videos on Pornhub all over the place. Started at 13 million, went down to 5, up to 7, now at 4.8. I assume a lot of this is just funky indexing issues, need to wait for the dust to settle to understand impact.”

Taking to Twitter, Cole stated, “Everything except for what was uploaded by content partners or members of the Model Program is suspended pending review and user verification — instead of those videos, you’ll see this.”

Cole later wrote, “They’ve suspended ~6.3 million videos since last night and counting.”

Nicholas Kristof, who wrote the original scathing article in The New York Times, stated that Pornhub “is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags. A search for ‘girls under18’ (no space) or ‘14yo’ leads in each case to more than 100,000 videos. Most aren’t of children being assaulted, but too many are.”

Pornhub announced “huge changes” on Thursday following the bombshell report. 

“Today, we are taking major steps to further protect our community. Going forward, we will only allow properly identified users to upload content. We have banned downloads. We have made some key expansions to our moderation process, and we recently launched a Trusted Flagger Program with dozens of non-profit organizations. Earlier this year, we also partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and next year we will issue our first transparency report. Full details on our expanded policies can be found below,” they said.