Why did Pornhub remove over 10 million videos? Xvideos starts trending though it has 'even less monitoring'

The move arrives amid a growing number of claims against Pornhub that it featured clips depicting child sex abuse. After reports on people who have been featured on the site without consent, Mastercard and Visa cut ties with the website

                            Why did Pornhub remove over 10 million videos? Xvideos starts trending though it has 'even less monitoring'
(Getty Images)

The globally popular pornographic website Pornhub, as per reports, appears to have wiped out more than 10 million videos from its bank. As per a report on The Verge, the site boasted 13.5 million videos on Sunday night; it had close to 2.9 million as of December 14, Monday morning. 

On Tuesday, December 8, amid the growing number of claims against Pornhub after it featured clips depicting child sex abuse, the site announced a number of policy changes. A major policy change included that the site would immediately ban unverified content from being posted on its website, and even ban users from downloading said content. Uploads now have to come from official content partners or members of Pornhub’s “Model Program,” which requires age verification to sign up. Motherboard reported earlier that all previously uploaded videos were being pulled “pending verification and review” beginning in 2021.

This move also comes in the aftermath of Mastercard and Visa announcing their decision to stop processing transactions with the adult video streaming site over allegations that it hosted videos showing child sexual abuse and other illegal content. Later, Discover Financial Services also joined them in halting the acceptance of its cards on Pornhub.

A Pornhub logo is displayed at the company's booth at the 2018 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 24, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty Images)

It started with an opinion piece in the New York Times on December 4 titled, ‘The Children of Pornhub: Why does Canada allow this company to profit off videos of exploitation and assault?’ The report written by Nicholas Kristof noted: “Unlike YouTube, Pornhub allows these videos to be downloaded directly from its website. So even if a rape video is removed at the request of the authorities, it may already be too late: The video lives on as it is shared with others or uploaded again and again.”

At that time, Pornhub said in a statement that it is “unequivocally committed to combating child sexual abuse material, and has instituted a comprehensive, industry-leading trust and safety policy to identify and eradicate illegal material from our community,” adding that any assertion that the company allows child videos on the site “is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.”

The NYT story also recounted the horrors faced by Serena K. Fleites, whose video was uploaded to Pornhub when she was merely 14. In the five years that have passed since then, she has gone through addiction and homelessness, and self-harm. “I was dumb,” she said, noting that she had never imagined that the videos could be shared online. “It was one small thing that a teenager does, and it’s crazy how it turns into something so much bigger. A whole life can be changed because of one little mistake.”

Laila Mickelwait, the founder of #Traffickinghub told MEAWW that the changes in Pornhub policy were “too little too late”. She said, “By allowing uploads from anonymous unverified users, providing a platform for trading illegal content between private folders, and by distributing criminal rape, abuse, assault, trafficking, and image-based abuse videos to millions through its widely used download feature, Pornhub’s design, content features, and business practices have enabled and facilitated untold levels of harm and exploitation for over a decade. Pornhub's damage has already been done, and the new announcements today do not absolve Pornhub from accountability for its past behavior.”

In the aftermath of the news of Pornhub deleting videos from the website, Xvideos began trending on Twitter with thousands tweeting about their decision to migrate to the pornographic website registered to the Czech company WGCZ Holding. “mfw pornhub removed all of the good I had saved now I have to migrate to xvideos,” wrote a Twitter user. Another Twitter user said, “pornhub deleting all they videos? how me n my homies pulling up to xvideos.” One Twitter user said, “PornHub got rid of every unverified video, so you know I had to hit xvideos up instead y'all.”




But is Xvideos better? Undoubtedly, no. The NYT piece had predicted this. Kristof had noted, “Indeed, a rival of Pornhub, XVideos, which arguably has even fewer scruples, may attract more visitors.”

Fight The New Drug, a non-religious, non-legislative, research-based nonprofit raising awareness on the harmful effects of porn and exploitation, tweeted similar opinions in the aftermath of this Twitter trend. “To everyone heading to Xvideos now that Pornhub is taking (some) responsibility for the abuse they've hosted: Xvideos reportedly has even less monitoring than Pornhub, which means a greater chance of viewing nonconsensual content or child sexual abuse. Please, listen to victims,” wrote the official account of the nonprofit, adding, “It's deeply troubling to hear that many people's reaction to increased moderation in the porn industry is to run to a site with less moderation.”



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