PornHub Changes Rules After Scathing NYT Report, Investigation Threat

December 9th, 2020 4:38 PM

In a huge win for victims of sexual exploitation and their families, Pornhub has changed several of its rules. All it took was a scathing New York Times report and the threat of a federal investigation.

Several of the new site rules, as described by its help center, were actually suggested by Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “[A]side from limiting immunity so that companies are incentivized to behave better,” Kristof said his proposed rules “would help.”

Pornhub has claimed that it now will only allow uploads from “Verified Uploaders Only,” will no longer allow downloads and will expand moderation. The site also introduced a “trusted flagger program.” The site has partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, plans to release a transparency report in 2021 and has brought in a legal team for an independent investigation. 

Several of Pornhub’s changes were proposed by Kristof in his opinion piece headlined “The Children of Pornhub.” In it, Kristof suggested “three steps that would help: 1.) Allow only verified users to post videos. 2.) Prohibit downloads. 3.) Increase moderation.”

The Times investigation revealed that the website is allegedly “infested” with videos depicting brutal rapes and assaults, even including some victims who are minors. 

One woman, named Nicole, alleged that Pornhub would remove some videos of child exploitation, but that later, the videos would sometimes be reuploaded to the site. “Why do videos of me from when I was 15 years old and blackmailed, which is child porn, continuously [get] uploaded?” Nicole asked Pornhub, according to The Times. She added, “You really need a better system. … I tried to kill myself multiple times after finding myself reuploaded on [Pornhub’s] website.”

Several prominent Republican senators have called for an investigation into PornHub following The Times’s investigation. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) urged government action against the porn site in a  tweet: “Tremendous reporting by @NickKristof on the exploitation that occurs on sites like Pornhub. It’s time for it to end. I will introduce legislation to create a federal right to sue for every person coerced or trafficked or exploited by sites like Pornhub.”

“The Department of Justice needs to open an investigation into the scumbags who run Mindgeek,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Mindgeek is the parent company of PornHub. “Sexual exploitation and human trafficking are abhorrent, period. A decent society should be working to end this.”

We should be cautious to praise Pornhub for these actions. After all, it did take a nationally recognized paper and the threat of federal investigation from a sitting senator for the site to take action to protect children. However, these new rules could help victims and allow them to put their trauma in the past.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representative and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency and protection for the most vulnerable in society. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.