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Exposed For Illegal Content, Pornhub Scrubs Millions Of Videos After Credit Card Companies Drop Them
Pornographic video sharing website Pornhub logo is seen on an Android mobile device with a figure of hacker in the background. (Photo by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Embattled pornography website Pornhub scrubbed millions of videos, an estimated 60% of their content, on Sunday evening.

A report from The New York Times published earlier this month exposed what’s long been known by activists: Pornhub hosts videos of rape and sex trafficking victims. Following the report, Visa and Mastercard announced Thursday that they’d prohibit the use of their cards on the pornography site.

Pornhub responded by condemning Visa and Mastercard for allegedly hurting people’s livelihood in the wake of the announcement. But the companies’ move also appear to have prompted Pornhub to take action, deleting all videos from unverified users.

Prior to the bombshell Times report, the site allowed people to upload videos without verification.

“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.

Later Monday morning, Vice reported: “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.”

“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,” reporter Samantha Cole said.

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

Pornhub announced “huge changes” to their terms Tuesday, on the heels of the alarming exposé from Times writer Nicholas Kristof.

Pornhub “is infested with rape videos,” wrote Kristof in an opinion piece published last Friday. “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.”

Traffickinghub founder Laila Mickelwait reacted to the news, Monday morning: “Pornhub just removed most of it’s videos. #Traffickinghub,” she posted. 

“Over 10 million videos infested with rape and trafficking are now gone. This is a good day for victims who have been begging Pornhub to remove their abuse,” Mickelwait added. “#Traffickinghub.”

“Amazing what public pressure will do,” said Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (MO). “Now Congress should pass my legislation that would make Pornhub liable for all content that is non-consensual or produced through fraud or coercion.”

Related: Major Credit Cards Stop Allowing Cards To Be Used On Pornhub; Porn Site Outraged

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