Pornhub Announces Sweeping Changes to Upload Policies in Wake of New York Times Article

After Times columnist Nicholas Kristof published a lengthy examination of Pornhub's content, the streaming platform radically revised its policies.

In a lengthy article in The New York Times over the weekend, columnist Nicholas Kristof delved into the world of Pornhub and its user-uploaded content, speaking to several men and women who saw videos of themselves as minors uploaded to the site before being removed—but not before users were able to download them. In it, Kristof admits that he’s at a loss as to how to stop the spread of abuse online, but offers three suggestions:

1.) Allow only verified users to post videos. 2.) Prohibit downloads. 3.) Increase moderation.

Pornhub responded in a statement to the Times that read, “Pornhub 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 claims of underage videos on the site are “irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.”

In the days since the story was posted December 4, two things happened.

On December 7, Mastercard and Visa announced they would be launching investigations into Pornhub’s parent company, Mind Geek, regarding these accusations. A day later, Pornhub announced a sweeping set of changes to its uploads system. Chief among them is a new, verified-partners-only upload policy, which it clarifies as:

Only content partners and people within the Model Program will be able to upload content to Pornhub. In the new year, we will implement a verification process so that any user can upload content upon successful completion of identification protocol.

Additionally, with the exception of paid downloads from verified partners, downloads of content have been banned effective immediately, and Pornhub has promised to expand its team of moderators.

Read the full list of Pornhub’s newly announced policies here.

In a follow-up article published December 9, Kristof was cautiously optimistic about the new policies and the groundswell of support that appeared following his initial article. Over the last week, legislation has been introduced by senators Josh Hawley, Maggie Hassan, Joni Ernst, and Thom Tillis, that would allow rape victims to more easily sue porn companies profiting from videos of the assaults.

While celebrating the outpouring of support for the victims who spoke to him, Kristof also sounded a note of caution, pointing out that Pornhub is not the only tube site where searches for phrases that would indicate underage performers yield hundreds of results. Pornhub is not even the most visited porn site—that would be Xvideos.com. Both receive more traffic than Netflix.

“The issue isn’t pornography but rape,” Kristof writes. “It is not prudishness to feel revulsion at global companies that monetize sexual assaults on children; it’s compassion.”

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