18 December 2020 04:43

Pornhub MindGeek

Tube Sites Are Scrubbing Girls Do Porn Videos After Pornhub Lawsuit

Cornell University was an early investor in a firm that currently owns Pornhub and various other pornography websites, The Financial Times reported on Wednesday. The firm, currently known as MindGeek, owns porn websites that together amass over 115 million visitors per day, accounting for a substantial amount of all internet traffic and advertising. The news comes about a week after Pornhub announced it would remove all "unverified" content from the site. The move appears to have been prompted by a decision by MasterCard and Visa to suspend dealings with the site, after a column by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times drew attention to videos of sex trafficking victims that were available to view on Pornhub. Republicans have called on U.S. attorney general William Barr to investigate Pornhub over exploitative videos of women and girls that have appeared on the site.

Some of the world's biggest porn sites are finally removing videos produced by sex trafficking operation Girls Do Porn after 40 victims of that operation sued Pornhub this week for at least $1 million each. Xvideos.com, a porn tube site much like Pornhub that hosts videos anyone can upload, has removed most of its easy-to-find Girls Do Porn videos in the last 48 hours. Prior to this change, dozens of Girls Do Porn videos regularly appeared on the front page of the site, where they collected millions of views over the last several years. The site's search function returned almost 400,000 results for the term "Girls Do Porn," though not all of them were actually Girls Do Porn videos. Searching for "Girls Do Porn" on Xvideos at the moment does not return any results.

As was the case when Motherboard reported on Pornhub's failure to remove Girls Do Porn videos earlier this year, a few Girls Do Porn videos are still hosted on Xvideos, and can be found via different search terms, and in some cases, the site's recommendations of videos to watch. XNXX.com, which is operated by the same company that operates Xvideos, similarly removed Girls Do Porn videos. Spankbang.com, another porn tube site, has also removed many of the Girls Do Porn videos it hosted in the past two days, and currently returns zero results when searching for the term. Disabling certain search terms is a method for moderating content on sites, and a tactic Pornhub and others have used for Girls Do Porn, as well as terms like deepfakes. Earlier this year, Motherboard contacted all of these websites during our reporting on Pornhub's faulty moderation methods.

Hundreds of Girls Do Porn videos remained on Pornhub even as 22 women took Girls Do Porn to court, and after the FBI indicted Girls Do Porn for federal counts of sex trafficking. These porn tube sites hosted and surfaced Girls Do Porn videos even after Pornhub started removing Girls Do Porn videos this year. Pornhub made a huge policy shift and stopped letting unverified users upload videos to the site last week. After Visa and Mastercard stopped accepting payments for Pornhub last week—posing a serious financial blow to both its parent company Mindgeek and performers who use the site—it removed all unverified content, removing the vast majority of videos on Pornhub. It is only in the last couple of days, after 40 women sued Pornhub, that these sites finally started removing those videos. The site is closing out its year with both porn-watchers and sex workers distraught following several new policy changes. Following a Dec. 4 The New York Times op-ed documenting human trafficking survivors who were non consensually abused, filmed, and posted onto the site, Mastercard Inc and Visa Inc stopped processing payments on Pornhub. This means Pornhub users will not be able to purchase content with their Mastercard or Visa card accounts, and Pornhub performers will not be able to be paid by such. "Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site," Mastercard spokesperson Seth Eisen told The Verge. On Dec. 14, Pornhub stated in a blog post that they'd removed all content not created and uploaded by members of The Pornhub Content Partner Program or Model Program, which includes millions of videos by unverified users. As Pornhub continues to strengthen protections and user guidelines, the effects of these payment changes may be felt most by sex workers and performers. In a Dec. 10 statement, the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Behind Barsstated in Visa and Mastercard's absence, Pornhub will likely switch to cryptocurrency, leaving sex workers in the lurch. "The action from MasterCard and VISA will cause harm to our already suffering community members and will have zero impact on the Pornhub platform." On Dec. 9, Republican U.S. Senator Josh Hawley introduced Survivors of Human Trafficking Fight Back Act, a bipartisan bill aimed to support survivors of porn industry exploitation to sue host websites. "Sites like Pornhub routinely escape responsibility for facilitating abuse, trafficking, and exploitation, making millions for themselves in the process," Senator Hawley stated. "Meanwhile, the victims of this abuse have little recourse against these powerful companies." Again, while this seems like protection for sex workers, it's important to note that Senator Hawley is vehemently anti-abortion, was previously the Missouri Attorney General, and has been on record saying that "sexual freedom leads to slavery." You can still watch porn (& support sex workers).