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Pornhub

Pornhub

Pornhub is a free pornographic video sharing website founded in 2007.

Pornhub is a Canadian-owned internet pornography website. It is one of several pornographic video-streaming websites owned by Mindgeek. As of June 2020, Pornhub is the 10th most trafficked website in the world and the third most-trafficked adult website after XVideos and XNXX.

Pornhub was launched in Montreal, Canada, in 2007. Pornhub also has an office and servers in Limassol, Cyprus. In March 2010, the company was bought by MindGeek (known then as Manwin), which owns numerous other pornographic websites. The site is available internationally but has been blocked by some individual countries such as India, mainland China, the Philippines, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It offers virtual reality porn, amongst other products, and hosts the Pornhub Awards annually.

Incidents have been reported of Pornhub hosting non-consensual pornography. The company has been criticized for slow or inadequate responses to some of these incidents, including the hosting of the high-profile channel GirlsDoPorn, which was closed in 2019 following a lawsuit and charges of sex trafficking. In December 2020, following a New York Times article on such content, payment processors Mastercard and Visa cut their services to Pornhub. On 14 December 2020, Pornhub removed all videos by unverified users. This reduced the content from 13 million to 4 million videos.

History

Pornhub was founded by web developer Matt Keezer as a website within the company Interhub, and launched on 25 May 2007. In March 2010, the company was purchased by Fabian Thylmann as part of the Manwin conglomerate, now known as MindGeek. In 2013, Thylmann sold his stake in the company to senior management – Feras Antoon and David Tassillo. As part of MindGeek, Pornhub makes up one of several pornographic websites in the company's "Pornhub Network", alongside YouPorn, RedTube, and others. Though not the most popular pornographic website, Pornhub is the single largest such website on the internet, hosting more videos than any similar site.

The website allows visitors to view pornographic videos from a number of categories, including professional and amateur pornography. Users can share videos on social media websites and leave "like" or "dislike" votes. Users may also optionally register a free Pornhub account, which additionally allows them to post comments, download videos and add videos to their favourites, as well as upload videos themselves. Videos can be flagged if they contain content which violates the website's terms of service.

In an effort to introduce quality curation to the site, the company launched a service called "Pornhub Select" in October 2013. Pornhub also launched a content curation website on 9 October 2013 called "PornIQ", which uses an algorithm to create personalized video playlists for the viewer based on a number of factors, including their porn preferences, the time of day they're visiting the website, what part of the world they live in and the amount of time the viewer has to watch the video(s). David Holmes of PandoDaily noted that Pornhub's data-intensive approach to playlists set it apart from previous attempts at user-generated playlists, and marked a new trend in the switch from content searching to passive curation among Web 2.0 websites.

As of 2009, three of the largest pornographic sites "RedTube, YouPorn and PornHub—collectively make up 100 million unique visitors".

In June 2015, Pornhub announced that it was going to make a pornographic film featuring real-life sex in space, named Sexplorations. The site hoped to launch the mission and shoot the movie in 2016, covering the pre- and post-production costs itself but seeking $3.4 million from IndieGogo crowdfunders. If funded, the film would have been slated for a 2016 release, following six months of training for the two performers and six-person crew.

On 1 February 2016, Pornhub launched an online casino, powered by Betsoft, Endorphina and 1x2 gaming software.

In October 2017, vice president Corey Price announced that Pornhub would use computer vision and artificial intelligence software to identify and tag videos on the website with information about the performers and sex acts. Price said the company planned to scan its entire library beginning in early 2018.

On 17 April 2018, the site began accepting Verge cryptocurrency as a payment option.

In December 2020, following a New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof that was critical of the company, payment processors Mastercard and Visa cut their services to Pornhub. Pornhub then removed all videos by unverified users.

Non-consensual pornography

See also: Rape pornography and Child pornography

Pornhub employs Vobile to search for uploads of banned videos to remove them from the site. Non-consensual content or personally identifiable information present on Pornhub can be reported to the company via an online form. However, Pornhub has been criticized for its response to non-consensual pornography and sex trafficking. Journalists at Vice criticized that Pornhub profits from "content that's destroyed lives, and continues to do harm". Slate commentated that the move reflected a larger trend of Internet platforms using verification as a way to distinguish sources.

In 2009, a 14-year-old girl was gang raped at knifepoint and claims the videos were uploaded to Pornhub. The girl stated that she emailed Pornhub repeatedly over a period of six months, but received no reply. After she impersonated a lawyer, the videos were removed. Another case in October 2019 involved a man who faces charges of lewd and lascivious battery of a 15-year-old girl, videos of which were discovered on Pornhub, Modelhub, Periscope and Snapchat that led to his arrest. The UK based activist group Not Your Porn was founded by the friend of a woman whose iCloud storage had been hacked, leading to the hacker posting sexually explicit photos and videos on Pornhub alongside her full name. Pornhub removed the video when reported, but clones of the video using her full name replicated faster than the videos were removed. The woman found that "the fractured communication system at Pornhub has meant this has become an increasingly excruciating process". The founder of Not Your Porn reported that fifty women contacted her over a six-month period about non-consensual online pornography featuring them, thirty of whom reported that the videos were uploaded to Pornhub.

In 2019, the official GirlsDoPorn channel, verified by Pornhub, was removed from the site. It was the 20th-largest channel on the website. On 10 October 2019, the two owners and two employees were arrested on three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, after a civil lawsuit filed in July. The channel was removed a week afterwards, which journalists at Daily Dot and Motherboard said was a slow response to the incident. Additionally, the videos could still be found afterwards unofficially on Pornhub's website.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) found 118 instances of child sexual abuse material on Pornhub between 2017 and 2019. Pornhub rapidly removed this content. An IWF spokesperson said that other social networks and communication tools posed more of an issue than Pornhub in regard to this type of content. Similarly, in 2020, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reported that over 20 million reports of child sexual abuse material related to content on Facebook, accounting for 95% of total reports, and that Pornhub and other MindGeek sites were the subject of only 13,000 reports.

In response to abusive content on the site, an online petition calling for the shutdown of Pornhub gained over one million signatures throughout 2020. The petition was started by Laila Mickelwait, Director of Abolition at Exodus Cry, a Christian anti-trafficking and anti-sex work non-profit, and was addressed to the executives of MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub. The petition notes numerous instances of non-consensual and child abuse material on the website, including a child trafficking victim who was made a "verified model" by the site. In response to the petition, Pornhub claimed they were committed to removing such material from the site.

In December 2020, Nicholas Kristof's opinion column in The New York Times described Pornhub as a company which "monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags." In response to the column, Pornhub announced it would no longer accept uploads from unidentified users and would disable video downloads. Visa and Mastercard also announced they would review their financial ties to Pornhub. On 10 December 2020, Mastercard and Visa blocked use of their cards on Pornhub. Pornhub told the New York Times that these claims were "irresponsible and flagrantly untrue".

On 14 December 2020, Pornhub announced that all videos posted by unverified users had been removed from public access "pending verification and review". This reduced the number of videos on the website from 13 million to 4 million.

In December 2020, MindGeek, Pornhub's parent company was sued in California for hosting non-consensual videos produced by GirlsDoPorn, which allegedly coerced women into appearing in their videos under false pretenses. In January 2021, a class action lawsuit making similar claims was launched in Montreal. The Canadian proposed class action sought $600 million for anyone who had intimate photos and videos, some of which may have been taken when they were underage, shared on MindGeek's sites without their consent, since 2007. In June 2021, 34 women sued Mindgeek in federal court in California, alleging that the company had exploited them and hosted and promoted videos that depicted rape, revenge porn, and child sexual abuse.

In Brazil, according to Clayton Nunes, CEO of Brasileirinhas, those responsible for sending non-consensual pornography to Pornhub are the same ones who sent pornography in violation of copyright. As proof of this, he pointed out the fact that the pirated videos of Brasileirinhas on Pornhub have dropped to zero, after the banning of accounts. In Xvideos, Spank Bang and XHamster, which does not verify users, the producer has yet to ask to remove videos for copyright.

Far-right Christian groups with white nationalist and neo-Nazi ideologies have issued death threats towards Pornhub managers and sex workers, associating themselves with anti-trafficking and anti-pornography groups.

Non-pornographic content

Pornhub users have often uploaded non-pornographic content to the site, including posts of Hollywood films (under the belief that copyright holders would be less likely to look for uploads on Pornhub than on a mainstream video sharing service such as YouTube), to monetize content deemed ineligible for monetization on YouTube, or as memes and jokes. These videos often have double entendre titles resembling porn films, such as a pirated recording of the musical Hamilton listed as "Revolutionary Boys Get Dirty on American Politics", a clip from the animated film Puss in Boots listed as "Hardcore Pussy Gets Wrecked", highlight compilations of esports events tagged as a "gangbang", and Ryan Creamer videos, which feature comedic videos with sexual titles.

In March 2020, Pornhub premiered Leilah Weinraub's documentary Shakedown, which chronicles a black lesbian strip club of the same name in Los Angeles. The film streamed on the service throughout March, before being released via Criterion Channel. Brand director Alex Klein stated that the film's premiere on Pornhub was part of "a larger general commitment Pornhub has to supporting the arts."

Copyright infringement claims

In 2010, Mansef Inc. and Interhub, the then-owners of Pornhub, were sued by the copyright holding company of the pornographic film production company Pink Visual, Ventura Content, for the copyright infringement of 95 videos on websites, including Pornhub, Keezmovies, Extremetube, and Tube8. According to Ventura Content, the 45 videos were streamed "tens of millions of times" and they claimed the piracy threatened the "entire adult entertainment industry". The suit was settled in October 2010, with terms that remain confidential. The parties agreed that the site operators would implement digital fingerprint filtering on their sites. Porn 2.0 sites such as these are seen as posing notable competition for paid pornographic websites and traditional magazine and DVD-based pornography.

In July 2021, Pornhub launched Classic Nudes, an interactive guide of classic art from major institutions, as a means to help museums recover from the financial toll of the pandemic. However, The Louvre, Uffizi Gallery, and Museo del Prado sued Pornhub for copyright infringement, claiming that the museums had never "granted authorizations for the operation or use of the art."

Malvertising

Further information: Malvertising

In 2014, researcher Conrad Longmore found that advertisements displayed by the sites contained malware programs, which install harmful files on users' machines without their permission. Longmore told the BBC that of pornography websites, Pornhub and XHamster pose the greatest threat.

In 2017, security firm Proofpoint discovered malicious ads running on the site that had the potential to install override software on users' PCs. The ads had been promoted on the site for over a year without intervention from Pornhub

Timeline

December 8, 2020
Pornhub says it will announce ways in which individuals can become verified users.

Patents

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
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Official | Pornhub.com

Web

News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
AFP
August 29, 2021
The Hindu
While bitcoin and other digital currencies have seen extreme volatility, adult operators say they can avoid those issues by using them for immediate payments without storing them.
Eloise Barry
August 26, 2021
Time
The social media platform synonymous with sex work has struggled to convince investors and banks to bet on "Instagram porn."
Brian Contreras
August 24, 2021
Los Angeles Times
Sex workers flock to internet platforms, seeking a safe place to earn a living, only to be kicked off. With OnlyFans banning them, many consider alternatives.
Brian Fung, CNN Business
August 20, 2021
CNN
Thursday's decision by the creator platform OnlyFans to soon stop hosting a wide swath of sexually explicit content is sending shockwaves through the internet.
Michael D. Smith
August 12, 2021
Harvard Business Review
The internet has changed a lot since the Communications Decency Act was passed in 1996.
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References

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