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Pornhub implements massive changes following claims of child exploitation

This week a conversation about Pornhub has been ignited.

The conversation kicked off with this opinion piece from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

In that harrowing story, Kristof outlines the numerous problems with Pornhub, but the one that sticks is allegations of the site allowing videos that feature child exploitation, rape and worse to flourish on the site, all the while monetising that content and offering little to no recourse for victims.

This story prompted Visa and Mastercard to investigate their relationship with MindGeek, the firm behind Pornhub.

This has seemingly spooked MindGeek, as PornHub has now amended its rules and regulations (link is safe for work). Perhaps the most noteworthy amendment is to how content makes its way on to the website.

“Going forward, we will only allow properly identified users to upload content,” Pornhub wrote in an update to its Commitment to Trust and Safety.

As of right now only content partners and people within the Model Program will be able to upload content to Pornhub. Come 2021, the website will implement a verification process so that users can upload content after successfully completing an identification protocol.

Downloads have also been removed by Pornhub effective immediately.

“Effective immediately, we have removed the ability for users to download content from Pornhub, with the exception of paid downloads within the verified Model Program. In tandem with our fingerprinting technology, this will mitigate the ability for content already removed from the platform to be able to return,” the website writes.

While this looks good, it’s what MindGeek is doing behind the scenes that truly matters in this instance.

To that end the firm is expanding its content moderation team. A so-called “Red Team” will be dedicated to monitoring the platform for potentially illegal material.

Pornhub will also expand its list of banned keywords and implement solutions which aid in identifying illegal content. These solutions include:

  • CSAI Match, YouTube’s proprietary technology for combating Child Sexual Abuse Imagery online
  • Content Safety API, Google’s artificial intelligence tool that helps detect illegal imagery
  • PhotoDNA, Microsoft’s technology that aids in finding and removing known images of child exploitation
  • Vobile, a fingerprinting software that scans any new uploads for potential matches to unauthorized materials to protect against banned videos being re-uploaded to the platform.

Pornhub will also be releasing a transparency report in 2021 which will detail the website’s content moderation efforts.

“Much like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other tech platforms, Pornhub seeks to be fully transparent about the content that should and should not appear on the platform. This will make us the only adult content platform to release such a report,” the site writes.

While this is good news, Pornhub has a long sordid history of controversies. For example, the Girls Do Porn saga was only resolved in October 2019 and much of the content can still be found on Pornhub today.

Whether Pornhub will implement these changes effectively remains to be seen but we suspect it no longer has a choice in the matter.

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