Who owns XVideos? ‘Wild West’ of Internet porn sees surge in followers after Pornhub tightens restrictions

Is XVideos better? The NYT piece noted: Indeed, a rival of Pornhub, XVideos, which arguably has even fewer scruples, may attract more visitors


                            Who owns XVideos? ‘Wild West’ of Internet porn sees surge in followers after Pornhub tightens restrictions
(Getty Images)

Where did over 10 million videos go from Pornhub? A viral New York Times piece titled ‘The Children of Pornhub’ by Nicholas Kristof explored the exploitation and abuse stemming from the globally popular pornographic website and stated the “site is infested with rape videos”. The article sparked much outrage and led to millions of user-uploaded videos being removed. Dubbing it “the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history,” Pornhub said it will now limit uploads to only verified users.

On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, a number of policy changes were announced, of which one of the changes included the site to ban all unverified content from being posted or downloaded. 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.

“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,” according to Pornhub's announcement. “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.” The move led to much chaos and as per The Verge, the site boasted 13.5 million videos on Sunday night; and had close to 2.9 million as of December 14, Monday morning. 

An image of adult film actress Asa Akira is displayed at the Pornhub booth (Getty Images)

Is Pornhub safer after the new policy change?

The move did spark much chatter on social media but one question still boggles many minds: Is Pornhub safer after the new policy change? Here are a few points from The Print that still remain unanswered. 

How will the verification process be strengthened? Currently, one only needs a photo and username to be verified, and that doesn't really make things difficult for a person to access the website, does it? Moreover, the downloads will still be available for the “Model Program” and that, again, doesn't really restrict people from sharing certain videos once downloaded.

A sign at the Pornhub booth (Getty Images)

Many Internet users also put their thoughts down. “The people screaming boycott about the purging of #Pornhub's unverified videos are obviously ignorant to the fact that it would be nearly impossible to verify that EVERY video was legal and safe to be on the site. Safest thing to do is purge,” one tweet read. Sharing a screenshot, another Twitter user wrote, “Just in case anyone wasn’t aware, no, you don’t have to confirm your age to get verified on Pornhub. Even with the removal of unverified accounts’ videos, which is fantastic, it doesn’t remove all of the issues with the site.” 

It soon sparked a debate on the micro-blogging platform. “You only have to verify one person on the account. Let's say you're trying to upload revenge porn of an ex of yours. You'd verify yourself, and then post the video. You don't have to verify both people in the video, only one, which can be you,” one tweet read and another said, “That’s true. I dont think with sites like Pornhub, it’s even going to be completely safe from this sort of thing but at least its still a move in a better direction compared to when they still had unverified accounts able to post.”



 



 



 

Who owns XVideos?

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. 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.”

A pornographic video sharing and viewing website, XVideos was founded in Paris in 2007 by French owner Stephane Michael Pacaud. Currently registered to the Czech company WGCZ Holding, it was ranked as the 8th most visited website in the world as of June 2020. The company also owns Bang Bros, DDF Network, Penthouse magazine, Private Media Group, Erogames and has a controlling interest in the productions gathered under the Legal Porno brand.

While all peoples being in lockdown and quarantine due to the COVID-19, visits to erotic and porn websites clearly increase / Pornhub / Coronavirus / Outbreak / on March 17, 2020 (Getty Images)

Back in 2012, MindGeek owner Fabian Thylmann tried to buy the company but the French owner turned his $120 million offer down saying, “Sorry, I have to go and play Diablo II.” At that time, it was getting over 100 billion page views per month. Two years later, in 2014, AVN reported that XVideos was showing them a statement that demanded them to “agree to never remove uploaded content, or else have their content channel deleted”.

JT of Really Useful Cash posted a screenshot and started a thread on GFY saying, “You do not want to be giving these rights to a tube site, ANY tube site. Yes, it is their site, and they can change their ToS to suit themselves, and that is exactly what XVideos have done here. XVideos are forcing you to give up your copyright, give them perpetual rights and ownership over every clip you have ever uploaded to them via their CPP. You lose complete control over YOUR content and this is NOT something you should be doing. You never know what is going to happen in the future, and what is on the imminent horizon for content owners in this industry. My advice is to NOT agree, but NOT disagree at this point. Leave your account in "limbo" and do not upload any further clips to them until further notice.”

XVideos later commented on the same thread saying, “We'll likely update this agreement a bit, and will always respect your wish to remove certain videos for the usual reasons.” The website is censored and blocked in several countries like Algeria, Bangladesh, India, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Philippines and Venezuela.

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