Did Pornhub block Russian users? Truth behind viral claims

Social media claims that those Russian users who want access to the site see Ukrainian flags, words of support for Ukraine upon login to Pornhub


                            Did Pornhub block Russian users? Truth behind viral claims
Pornhub logo. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted many sanctions to be made against the nation to punish them for their brutal series of attacks on Ukraine after an abrupt declaration of war by Putin. On February 25, 2022, not long after more international sanctions being made against Russia, Russian users alleged that they were not able to access PornHub. 

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When trying to access the adult website, Russian reporters reported that a message popped up saying they were blocked from the website. Users also claimed that the site displayed a picture of the Ukrainian flag along with a message of support. This information, however, has no concrete proof to support itself and is only a rumor. There had been no evidence to back up the claims. Apart from Pornhub's alleged move, even Hollywood has hit out with its own sanctions. Musicians, festival organizers have announced their decisions to postpone events in Russia, severely limiting entertainment offerings in the country. The band Imagine Dragons was scheduled to perform in Russia and Ukraine this coming June but revealed over the weekend its decision to halt the shows. After Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony announced they would halt distributing films in Russia, including Warner's highly anticipated "The Batman," Paramount Pictures announced likewise.

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The rumor was started via a single piece of text that read,"The sanction nobody is talking about. Russian users who attempted to visit pornhub were quite literally cockblocked by a message that told them that the content has been stopped along with a Ukranian [sic] flag and message of Ukranian [sic] support." This post, shared by a Twitter user, only had a generic Pornhub logo posted along with it and had no screenshots of the alleged Ukrainian flag and the message of support. 

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Is Pornhub down in Russia?

Internet sleuths quickly took to investigating the matter and many people reported using VPNs to try and see if PornHub had indeed barred access of content from Russian users. Samantha Cole, a journalist, used a VPN connection to establish the truth of the matter. She shared a screenshot of an age-gate message in Russian and confirmed that no message similar to the claims of the rumor had been seen and there was possibly no restriction of content for the people in Russia. 

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Although Porn Hub has not dismissed their Russian viewers, Russia itself did ban the website once in 2016. Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media implemented new rules that prohibited Russian citizens from having access to Pornhub and YouPorn, telling people to “try and meet someone in real life.” Shortly after, Porn Hub revealed to Russian citizens that they would be able to access the site via their accounts on a platform called VK, which is a Russian social platform similar to Facebook. 

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