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Pornhub Exposé Explained: The Digital Jeffrey Epstein Shot Down By NYT


Dec 11, 2020

Pornhub needs no introduction, its popularity precedes its name. However, a column by The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof unfolded the blindfold on our eyes by revealing how a leading website that attracts more visitors in a month than Netflix, Yahoo or Amazon is a hotbed of underage porn, rape videos, assaults on women, revenge porn and other problematic content. The column discusses the trauma-inducing stories of teenagers whose videos were uploaded to Pornhub without their consent and how the company profits off their suffering by displaying ads.

Pornhub: The Giant Internet Sadist That Lacks Accountability

Kristof’s article outlines how Pornhub allows anonymous users to upload videos and it is virtually impossible to figure out the age of a youth involved in the videos. Even after the videos are flagged and removed by reporting or lodging complaints, the downloaded copies can be reuploaded again and again as there is no efficient method to mark videos and stop their circulation on the website.

Needless to say, this causes unspeakable personal trauma to those whose videos are uploaded without their consent. To give you an idea of the immensity of this, around 6.8 million videos are uploaded on the website every year. Out of these, a majority of the videos involve consenting adults, but there are several which don’t.

The accounts of those whose lives have been impacted by Pornhub’s anonymous upload feature and lack of efficient moderation involve a pattern — frequent suicide attempts, loss of self-respect, mental health issues, drug overdose, and unfathomable trauma.

While Pornhub says it is committed to combating child sexual abuse material, recently, it minted money from a video of a naked woman in China who was stripped naked and subjected to gruesome ice water torture and assault without her consent. It is easy to find videos on the porn site with titles like “Screaming Teen,” “Degraded Teen” and “Extreme Choking.” The suggestions accompanying these titles are equally licentious in nature.

Worsening the situation is the unaccountability of the porn website as it previously enjoyed impunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which allows companies that accept content from the public to flout laws. Section 230 was amended in 2018 which forced Pornhub to increase the number of moderators and now the Porn giant actively reports illegal material to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

While these laws can prove to be a saviour for the the youth of America, the website still poses a deep rooted issue of ‘no consent’ in other countries of the world where it operates.

Mounting Pressure: 2.1 Million Want Pornhub To Shut Down

Pornhub is facing criticism from around the globe. A petition that wants Pornhub to shut down its operations and hold its officials accountable for aiding in trafficking and child abuse has received over 2 million signatures.

Kristof’s article has set drastic actions in motion from business partners of Pornhub. Paypal has suspended its business activities with Pornhub and now Visa and Mastercard have also pledged to investigate its financial ties with the Canada-based porn heavyweight.

Today, Pornhub has also announced a set of changes intended to curb nonconsensual videos posted to the platform. It is barring unverified users from uploading videos and also restricting the download of the content once it is uploaded. Pornhub has also promised that it will introduce a comprehensive verification program for general users in 2021.

Porn Is Not The Issue, It’s The Lack Of Consent

Honestly, there is no direct solution to eradicate the issues with Pornhub but government agencies can come up with stricter regulations to hold the platforms accountable for their actions. Other possible workarounds, as suggested by Kristof, are allowing only verified users to post videos, prohibiting downloading of the content from the website, and increased moderation from the website itself.

Pornhub isn’t the only company engaged in circulating content involving coerced or non-consented sex on the internet. But limiting such content on a mainstream site could be a means to mount pressure on other platforms as well.

While concluding this, I would like to shower words of gratitude over the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, whose column has led companies like Mastercard and American Express to delve deeper into the business partners they are dealing with. His column has also forced Pornhub to bring much-needed change to the platform.

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