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Pornhub removes all unverified content from platform

Pornhub on Monday removed all videos uploaded by unverified users, purging more than half the platform’s content overnight.

The crackdown follows the publication of an opinion piece in The New York Times that found videos of children being assaulted on the platform and Visa and Mastercard subsequently cutting off service.

Pornhub appears to have taken down more than 10 million videos, according to Motherboard, which first reported the takedowns. The site reportedly hosted 13.5 million videos Sunday night but had fewer than 3 million Tuesday morning. 

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The company announced last week that it would be removing unverified content.

“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,” Pornhub said in a statement Monday. “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.”

Uploads will now only be allowed from official content partners or members of the company’s “Model Program,” which requires age verification.

Pornhub also noted that many nonprofits credit the company for effectively tackling child sexual abuse material before the Times’s report.

“Over the last three years, Facebook self-reported 84 million instances of child sexual abuse material. During that same period, the independent, third-party Internet Watch Foundation reported 118 incidents on Pornhub,” it said. “That is still 118 too many, which is why we are committed to taking every necessary action.”

While the decision to end unverified uploads could be useful in reducing abuse, Pornhub itself has a history of promoting a company being sued by women featured in its videos.

The suspension of payment services as a result of the new scrutiny on Pornhub has potential to damage sex workers, who rely on the platform’s sales for income.