Pornhub is removing all videos uploaded to its site by unverified users, millions of videos in total, as part of a crackdown on user-uploaded content after two major payment processors suspended service. The decision, first reported by Motherboard, stems from a New York Times report that found the site was hosting videos of people who are underage and videos showing children being assaulted.
The site announced last Tuesday that it would begin limiting uploads to verified users only. Uploads now have to come from official content partners or members of Pornhub’s “Model Program,” which requires age verification to sign up. Motherboard reports that all previously uploaded videos are now being pulled “pending verification and review” beginning in 2021.
“This means every piece of Pornhub content is from verified uploaders, a requirement that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter have yet to institute,” Pornhub wrote in a blog post this morning. A spokesperson said the verification policy would apply to all sites owned by MindGeek, Pornhub’s parent company. The spokesperson didn’t respond to a follow-up about whether those other sites, which include YouPorn and Redtube, would also remove videos from unverified users.
Pornhub appears to have wiped out more than 10 million videos as of this writing. Motherboard said the site boasted 13.5 million videos on Sunday night; it has 2.9 million as of Monday morning. While the site hosts professional videos, its main function operates much like YouTube — allowing users to upload videos of their own and make money off of ad revenue. These videos represented the bulk of Pornhub’s content.
Following the Times’ report last week, Visa and Mastercard said they would investigate whether the site was hosting illegal content. On Thursday, both companies cut off service, preventing customers from making purchases on Pornhub through two of the most popular payment methods available. The suspension of service could pose a significant problem for Pornhub, which also sells videos, and for the sex workers who use the platform’s sales as a source of income.
Update December 14th, 10:59AM ET: Added a statement saying Pornhub’s policy will apply to other MindGeek-owned websites and updated the number of videos removed.