Pornhub Under Attack


A petition, which now has almost 470,000 signatories, demands the shutdown of Pornhub. According to the petition, the portal is failing to take consistent action against videos that show abuse or belong to the so-called category of revenge porn. The tube site defends itself and claims, contrary to what is suggested, to take action against such content.

The world’s largest porn streamer is increasingly coming under attack for some of the content that is freely available via the website. An online petition with currently almost 500,000 signatures demands the closure of the site. Activists have long been calling for the company to take more responsibility for whether films were made and distributed with the consent of the performers.

Unlike most studios and paid content sites, the world’s largest porn offering, with 42 billion views in 2020, is freely accessible without age verification. Therefore, the company now faces unpleasant questions as to whether it is really doing enough to prevent illegal content being made available.

Among the six million clips that are uploaded to the site each year, there is always content that violates the law for various reasons. The problem becomes particularly clear in the case of authentic rape scenes or revenge pornography.

But pornography produced under questionable conditions – such as with the recently sued porn company GirlsDoPorn – also raises the question of the extent to which Pornhub, which belongs to the Mindgeek group, is partly liable for the distribution of illegal content.

However, if you visit the site, you will not be confronted with depictions of violence, rape or underage performers, contrary to what the petition suggests. Searches for the term »Rape«, for example, also do not provide any content, but the answer »no results«.

However, the portal can certainly be accused of not using such filters very vigorously; the German translation finds videos with the word »rape« in the title. Albeit real rape scenes cannot be found in this way.

Fetishes like BDSM or rough sex or rape fantasies on the other hand, are widespread on the portal and easy to find. But these are by no means illegal. They are phenomena that can be found in all pornography worldwide and to a certain extent should be part of the sexual freedom of the individual and should also be protected under the aspect of the freedom of the arts.

The petition, on the other hand, is not concerned with these distinctions. Initiated by Exodus Cry, a group of anti-porn activists, the actual goal of the petition seems to be an attack on free access to pornography in general and to the Mindgeek group in particular.

Laila Mickelwait, founder of Exodus Cry, says: »This is a company that is generating millions in advertising and membership revenue and yet they do not have an effective system in place to verify reliably the age or consent of those featured in the pornographic content it hosts.

Mindgeek, which also owns the tube sites RedTube, YouPorn, Nutaku and porn studios such as Brazzers, has also commented on the petition to the Guardian and is vehemently defending its best-known subsidiary: »This is a company that is generating millions in advertising and membership revenue and yet they do not have an effective system in place to verify reliably the age or consent of those featured in the pornographic content it hosts.«

Of course, the petition is also backed up by numerous anti-porn activists who are bothered by hardcore and fetish pornography or pornography in general. Therefore unfair means are also used. They criticize that words like »teen« or »violent« lead to results with corresponding contents, but despite some rather drastic depictions the results are legal contents, which were produced under generally extremely professional conditions.

The portal removes real abuse scenes as soon as they are reported. The extent to which illegal content can or must be detected before uploading is a technical and perhaps legal question that Mindgeek as a whole is probably dealing with intensively. However, the fact that content from GirlsDoPorn was still available until recently and that the company’s filters regarding illegal content can easily be circumvented by simple translations of problematic search terms will probably be of little help in the ongoing debate.

In the long term, the company has to face the difficult balancing act of continuing to allow the numerous forms of sexual freedom, all these fetishes that might be perceived as strange or shocking in the mainstream, while reliably filtering out illegal content.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here