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Pornhub is forced to remove 80 percent of its videos amid claims it is ‘infested’ with child sexual abuse material

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Pornhub, a website owned by Canada-based company Mindgeek, has been forced to remove all content uploaded by unverified users from its platform in the wake of allegations that it hosts child abuse content.  

The move comes after a recent New York Times report that Pornhub hosts videos of child sexual assaults and exploitations. Opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote that the site carried revenge pornography and explicit video taken without consent of the participants.

The column, published December 4, asserted that among the 6.8 million new videos posted on the site each year, a majority ‘probably involve consenting adults, but many depict child abuse and non-consensual violence’. 

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‘[The] site is infested with rape videos,’ Kristof said in the article.

‘It monetises child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.’

The accussation led credit card companies Visa and MasterCard to announce on Friday that they would no longer allow their cards to be used on the Pornhub site. 

MasterCard said its move was permanent, while Visa said it was suspending activity while it carries out its own investigation.

More than 10 million videos have been removed as part of the Canadian-owned pornography site’s purge, according to figures on its homepage. 

There were 13.5 million videos on Pornhub on Sunday evening, as noted by Motherboard, but the total stood at just 2.9 million as of Tuesday lunchtime.

Pornhub, the 10th most visited website in the world, said in a statement that it has ‘no tolerance’ for content that shows sexual abuse of children and denied it knowingly allowed such images. 

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Any assertion that we allow CSAM [child sexual abuse material] is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue,’ Pornhub said. 

Pornhub also said that two groups that have ‘spearheaded the campaign against our company’ – the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (formerly known as Morality in Media) and Exodus Cry/TraffickingHub. 

‘These are organisations dedicated to abolishing pornography, banning material they claim is obscene, and shutting down commercial sex work,’ Pornhub said in the blog post. 

‘These are the same forces that have spent 50 years demonising Playboy, the National Endowment for the Arts, sex education, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and even the American Library Association.

‘It is clear that Pornhub is being targeted not because of our policies and how we compare to our peers, but because we are an adult content platform.’