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Pornhub on the Defense: How They’ve Responded to Traffickinghub


An abundance of concrete evidence has revealed systemic issues at Pornhub involving non-consensual porn, trafficking, child-sex abuse material and rape. Recent news reports, arrests, third-party research and stories from countless victims have all corroborated the same conclusion—that Pornhub gives a platform for abusers and predators, and profits from the abuse.

As the Traffickinghub petition has gained international attention, Pornhub has had ample opportunity to issue apologies, pay reparations to victims, and concede to the blaring deficiencies in their business approach and content moderation. They could have acknowledged what is painfully obvious and committed to making holistic changes.

But of course, they haven’t. Instead, they have done what typical guilty parties do when they are caught—deny any fault. And Pornhub hasn’t just denied, they have doubled down on their lies. The company has been unapologetic and defiant in both their responses and subsequent actions, giving the proverbial finger to victims, justice systems, and human rights.

To summarize, let’s review some of the ways Pornhub has responded to allegations raised by the Traffickinghub movement.

1. Pornhub described allegations of sex trafficking existing on their site as “categorically false.”1

That sounds really strong and convincing, but then there’s the truth. Pornhub content partners like Czech Casting and Girlsdoporn were busted for exactly that—sex trafficking. Pornhub profited immensely from both these channels, despite their illegal dealings. Pornhub is a trusted partner of trafficking rings, and only plays dumb and breaks ties once law enforcement gets involved. Last year, dozens of videos of a 15-year-old girl being trafficked were found on Pornhub. Unfortunately, these are just a few examples.

2. Pornhub publicly called Laila Mickelwait’s actions to bring this injustice to light “factually wrong” and “intentionally misleading.”

In doing this Pornhub essentially called her a “liar” despite the fact that her claims were based on real cases and factual evidence. Instead of apologizing for wrongdoing, Pornhub is denying any of this exploitation ever happened.

3. Pornhub justified that 118 cases of child rape verified on their site by the Internet Watch Foundation were “less than one percent of its content.”2

How despicable. Are we supposed to be impressed? Maybe someone should inform Pornhub that having one case is a federal crime and justification for imprisonment. If possessing child sex abuse material is a crime, wouldn’t hosting and profiting from it be a greater crime? This admission alone should be enough for governments to ban the site.

4. Pornhub Sr. employees admit a company disdain towards age verification.

Pornhub’s Sr. Community manager admitted openly on Reddit that age verification is a “disaster” because it “costs us money to verify.” She went on to say that age verification “hurts” the porn industry, and whined about how age verification “devastates traffic” to their site.3 At least they were being honest for once. Her words confirm beyond doubt that Pornhub would rather make money off children than spend money to protect them.

5. Pornhub is claiming that they review “every video before upload.”4

Yet, they approved a video of a boy masturbating entitled “I’m 14.” This means they also viewed and approved videos that have surfaced featuring child rape. Further, Pornhub boasts that it would take someone 169 years to watch just the content uploaded in 2019. A staggering 14 videos each minute was uploaded in 2019! Yet somehow their team is watching them all? Sure they are. Pornhub’s outrageous claims are exposed by the very things they boast about. More on this in a bit.

RELATED: Two New Survivors of Child Rape on Pornhub Come Forward

6. Pornhub has ignored and stubbornly refused victims’ requests to have non-consensual content taken down.

Victims have endured months of struggle. Rose Kalemba resorted to posing as an attorney, to have her rape videos removed. Other victims were refused until lawyers reached out to the site. Pornhub has even verbally sparred with victims through email, accused them of lying, and blocked victims on social media—all while leaving the content in question live.56 Parents have to literally beg the site to remove explicit photos of underage girls.7 Again, if all content is reviewed manually before it’s posted, why would that even be necessary?

7. Pornhub has taken aim at their accusers.

Rather than address the massive amounts of criminal content they are hosting and profiting from, they’ve resorted to smear attacks, accusing organizations like Exodus Cry, Collective Shout, and others of having biased motives. It’s interesting that Pornhub believes our motive somehow makes their own activity any less illegal. If the “motive” of protecting innocent women and children from trafficking, rape, and abuse is wrong—then I’ll gladly be wrong. Pornhub’s activities violate the innocent and defenseless, so here we are.

8. They boast about protection software that doesn’t work.

Pornhub has consistently touted their “digital fingerprint” technology that supposedly marks illegal content so it can’t be uploaded. However, a recent Motherboard investigation revealed that simple editing could easily bypass their software, and allow previously marked footage to be uploaded again.8 Pornhub even admits that the software has “limitations.” Of course if “every video is manually reviewed” by their expert, human moderators, why would such software be needed in the first place?

9. Pornhub is on a deletion spree.

First, there seems to be a dedicated team at Wikipedia assigned to Porhub’s page. Editors have been deleting any references on Wikipedia to the petition, criticisms of Pornhub, or references to illegal content on the site.9 What connection do the editors at Wikipedia have with the executives at Pornhub? It’s beyond suspicious that factual data from credible sources wouldn’t be allowed on an unbiased community encyclopedia. Inside the site, Pornhub has been altering incriminating video titles, editing videos, but leaving the actual videos live, so they could continue to earn.10 Of course the question remains—if you review EVERY video before upload, and every victim is a liar, and the accusation of trafficking is “categorically false”—then why would you need to alter anything?

10. Pornhub is retreating on Twitter and trying to silence survivors.

The site’s Twitter account, Pornhub Aria, has turned off comments to their posts, and is blocking both victims and activists. Pornhub also was caught admitting to “verifying” a 15-year-old girl in a series of tweets, then deleted the tweets when they were called into question.

11. Pornhub is adding new disclaimers.

In a recent tweet, Laila Mickelwait revealed a new addition to the upload process, asking users to verify that video participants are over age 18.11 Nice gesture I guess, except it protects no one. As Laila pointed out, and Pornhub staff has admitted, adding actual age and consent verification is expensive. And Pornhub doesn’t really care that much about protecting anyone—except themselves of course.

Pornhub’s behavior can be described in many ways, but “ethical” is not one of them. Of all the tragic stories, arrests, and revelations over the last year, perhaps the greatest indictment of Pornhub has been their response. Their actions and inactions have spoken loudly, and showcased a disturbing greed and indifference to the suffering they are causing a growing number of people.

But they have made a few critical errors. First, they have wrongly assumed that the rest of the world is as calloused to the pain of others as they are. Second, they assume this will all just blow over.

As the adage goes “actions speak louder than words.” Regardless of their rhetoric, Pornhub’s response reveals a disingenuous company that doesn’t want to change and isn’t sorry for exploiting women and children for profit—they just want this to go away.

Well, we aren’t going away. Pornhub has forfeited the right to exist as a company by consistently violating people’s rights and freedoms. They have moved well past the point of simple reprimand and deserve nothing short of a complete shut down. They are unsafe and benefiting from exploitation, and the evidence is strong and indisputable—now it’s justice’s turn.

With your help we can shut down Pornhub. Click below to sign the petition or give to the fight.

 

Join the Traffickinghub Movement

We’re building a dedicated community of Traffickinghub Premium Partners who are giving $10/month to sustain this long fight till Pornhub is brought to justice. Will you join us? Start here.

Footnotes

  • 1. https://www.reuters.com/article/britain-women-trafficking/update-1-porn-sites-free-service-during-coronavirus-raises-sex-trafficking-fears-idUSL8N2BK415
  • 2. https://twitter.com/LailaMickelwait/status/1238489287307345920?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1238489287307345920%7Ctwgr%5Eshare_3&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Freclaimthenet.org%2Fpornhub-less-than-one-percent-of-content-is-child-abuse%2F
  • 3. https://twitter.com/lailamickelwait/status/1291156871341105154?s=11
  • 4. https://twitter.com/LailaMickelwait/status/1259559117275815936/photo/1
  • 5. https://twitter.com/LailaMickelwait/status/1244002731515211782
  • 6. https://twitter.com/LailaMickelwait/status/1248116350763110400?s=20
  • 7. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/brit-parents-beg-worlds-biggest-21604938
  • 8. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9393zp/how-pornhub-moderation-works-girls-do-porn
  • 9. https://www.opindia.com/2020/08/as-pornhub-faces-heat-over-child-rape-videos-wikipedia-editors-promptly-remove-content-mentioning-criticisms-and-petitions-against-the-website/amp/?__twitter_impression=true
  • 10. https://twitter.com/LailaMickelwait/status/1298081328538107904
  • 11. https://twitter.com/LailaMickelwait/status/1277264849743998979/photo/1
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