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Pornhub Purges 47% of Videos in Crackdown on Content From Unverified Accounts

Site’s video count dropped from 13.5 million to 7.2 million on Monday morning

Pornhub has deleted nearly half its video library as the popular porn site implemented new rules banning uploads unless they’re from verified accounts. The major change comes after a New York Times report that Pornhub is “infested” with child rape videos and other forms of illegal underage content — claims that led Visa and Mastercard to drop their business relationship with the site and parent company Mindgeek.

“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 said in a blog post late Sunday. “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.”

Pornhub is one of the most well-trafficked sites on the internet, with about 3.5 billion visitors each month. After its purge, Pornhub’s video count went from 13.5 million to 7.2 million on Monday morning, according to Vice — equal to a drop of 46.6%. The site announced last Tuesday it was banning all unverified content, along with several other changes, including adding an extra “layer” of moderation and blocking users from downloading videos.

The changes come after New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof reported Pornhub’s “cheery, winking face of naughty” was undermined by scores of child porn videos found on the site.

Kristof wrote: “Yet there’s another side of the company: Its site 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.

“After a 15-year-old girl went missing in Florida, her mother found her on Pornhub — in 58 sex videos. Sexual assaults on a 14-year-old California girl were posted on Pornhub and were reported to the authorities not by the company but by a classmate who saw the videos. In each case, offenders were arrested for the assaults, but Pornhub escaped responsibility for sharing the videos and profiting from them.”

Kristof’s story included the account of Serena Fleites, a 19-year-old woman who had her life turned upside down when naked videos she made at 14 ended up on Pornhub. Her life “imploded,” Kristof wrote, as classmates badgered and mocked her over the videos.

On Monday, Pornhub told Vice it’s looking to make its verification more thorough in 2021. For now, the verification process includes having users submit selfies holding a paper that includes their user name and whichever Mindgeek website they’re signing up for, including Pornhub.