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Meta permanently bans Pornhub’s Instagram account

Meta permanently bans Pornhub’s Instagram account


A few weeks after disabling the account, Meta has now removed it from Instagram permanently. The company says Pornhub has repeatedly violated its terms but doesn’t specify how.

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A hand holding up a smartphone with PornHub opened up in the dark.
Photo by Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Instagram says it’s permanently removed the official account for Pornhub for violating policies multiple times, Instagram’s parent company, Meta, told Motherboard.

Meta claims that, over the past decade, Pornhub has repeatedly violated its terms of service regarding nudity, adult content, and sexual solicitation. However, it did not specify how exactly beyond telling the New York Post that the account recently violated rules against sexual solicitation by encouraging Instagram users to leave the social media platform and visit a porn site. Meta adds the adult entertainment company also violated guidelines concerning multiple violations of its terms.

In response, Pornhub published an open letter on Twitter, calling the move unfair and pressing Meta to clearly explain why both its account and that of other adult content creators are repeatedly removed. The Free Speech Coalition, Riley Reid, and King Noire were among the 63 activist groups, performers, models, and pornographers who signed the letter.

A screenshot of Pornhub’s open letter on Twitter.
A screenshot of Pornhub’s open letter on Twitter.

Pornhub argues Instagram’s enforcement of its policies regarding the platform has been “opaque, discriminatory and hypocritical” over the years. These actions, Pornhub says, have hurt the livelihoods of an already “marginalized group” of “independent creators” for whom Instagram is an important marketing tool. 

At the same time, however, Pornhub says Instagram permits mainstream celebrities and brands to post explicit content without repercussion. As an example, the company compared its “fully PG” account to Kim Kardashian’s, whose account recently featured a picture of her rear end and made headlines.

“Denying us an ability to promote our brands and grow our businesses while continuously erasing, silencing, and censoring the presence of sex workers and adult brands is violent and profoundly damaging,” wrote Pornhub. “Combined with the regular financial discrimination those in the adult industry face, it is dangerous and threatening to our livelihoods.”

Pornhub’s Instagram account was initially disabled three weeks ago, a move the company thought was temporary at the time.

The news comes as Pornhub’s Luxembourg-based parent company, MindGeek, faces accusations that it’s not doing enough to moderate content, as one former Pornhub content moderator wrote about for The Verge earlier this year.

“Looking back, it felt like my role in content moderation was primarily to protect the company, not the victims of illegal porn,” freelance writer and former Pornhub moderator Nathan Munn wrote. “Removing those videos was just something I did between jokes.”

Some allege the site features many videos of rape, with Mastercard and Visa cutting ties with the company as a result. One recent $600 million class action suit filed on behalf of minors accuses MindGeek of hosting videos of children being sexually abused on Pornhub.