Can children access Pornhub? 'Rape porn,' other violent videos available to anyone on X-rated sites: Study

Pornhub said any suggestion it allowed illegal content was 'categorically and factually inaccurate'


                            Can children access Pornhub? 'Rape porn,' other violent videos available to anyone on X-rated sites: Study
Pornhub has explicitly disagreed with the study's findings (Getty Images)

A recent study has found that children could easily have access to disturbing porn on sites including Pornhub, many of which showed violence against women and rape acts, without any age check required. 

In the largest study of this kind, conducted at Durham University and published in the British Journal of Criminology, researchers found that one in eight out of 131,738 videos on homepages of porn sites such as Pornhub, XHamster and XVideos, showed non-consensual acts. Those who were filmed in some of the clips were described as either drugged or "very young", The Times reported.

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Apparently, anyone who visited the homepages of these X-rated sites was able to immediately come across these videos, which were often filled with violent acts despite the fact that it went against the site's terms and conditions. The researchers wrote: "It is not the case that criminal material is relegated to niche sites, hidden from all but a determined viewer, or only available on the dark web."

A Thai protester wears a PornHub hat during a rally outside of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society after the ministry banned the adult website in Thailand on November 3, 2020, in Bangkok, Thailand. (Getty Images)

Thousands of porn titles referred to violence or coercion with keywords including "grope" and "molest." The researchers also found that instead of using direct keywords like "rape porn", which is illegal to have or distribute in the United Kingdom, the site used titles like "boyfriend forced gf for sex" or "again and again forced."

The research took into account snapshots of the content on homepages of these sites taken hourly over a span of six months between 2017 and 2018. It also used keywords to find titles that matched the World Health Organisation of sexual violence. Among these, it filtered out the disregarded BDSM consensual clips.

Clare McGlynn, a professor of law at Durham who co-authored the study, said: “It’s shocking that this is the material that the porn companies themselves are choosing to showcase to first-time users. Our findings raise serious questions about the extent of criminal material easily and freely available on mainstream porn websites and the efficacy of current regulatory mechanisms.”

XVideos (Getty Images)

Fiona Vera-Gray, a legal research fellow and co-author of the study, said sexually violent material “eroticized non-consent” and distorted “the boundary between sexual pleasure and sexual violence”. Both Pornhub and XVideos state that all content “depicting” child sexual abuse, rape, incest and forced sexual acts are banned. Even simulations are prohibited. Stating that all content on its website depicted “consensual kinks," Pornhub has explicitly disagreed with the study's findings.

A spokesman said: “Consenting adults are entitled to their own sexual preferences, as long as they are legal and consensual, and all kinks that meet these criteria are welcome on Pornhub.” The company said any suggestion it allowed illegal content was “categorically and factually inaccurate”. XVideos also sang a similar tune. “We prohibit the uploading of illegal content, remove potentially illegal content when it is brought to our attention, and work with law enforcement in appropriate cases.”

Separate research has previously found more young people are looking at porn than before. Teens have also said that they have viewed pornography they found disturbing.

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