Pornhub Removes Unverified Content

The platform is attempting to scrub all illegal content from the site

Some argue the attack against Pornhub is part of the broader war on sex work.
Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In keeping with policy changes announced last week on the heels of a New York Times exposé following the lives of child sexual abuse victims whose videos ended up on Pornhub, the platform has been scrubbed of unverified content, removing millions of videos that weren’t uploaded by verified users or members of the platform’s “Model Program.”

“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,” the platform wrote in the Sunday night announcement. “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.”

Last week, Pornhub announced a slate of sweeping policy changes in response to the New York Times op-ed. In addition to scrubbing the platform of unverified content, Pornhub announced it would also begin prohibiting downloads, implementing new content moderation strategies, and restricting any future uploads to verified users only.

Mastercard and Visa both cut ties with Pornhub last week following an investigation into illegal content on the platform, a move that has been slammed as a threat to the sex industry. Last week, many sex-industry workers and allies spoke out against Visa and Mastercard’s decision to stop processing payments to Pornhub, claiming the move would damage porn performers’ livelihoods and further upend an industry already under attack by conservative anti-sex-work activists and organizations who have latched on to anti-sex-trafficking fear-mongering to advance a prohibitionist agenda.

In a statement published Friday, Sex Workers Outreach Project Behind Bars called the attack against Pornhub evidence of a growing “war on sex workers.”

“We say ‘war against sex workers’ because the damage they do does not impact the labor as much as it affects the laborers who depend on the Pornhub platform to earn a living,” the organization wrote. “Violence against sex workers includes the societal and institutional violence that has led to the shuttering of our online platforms that give us a measure of safety and allow us the critical resource that is the ability to access banking.”

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