Pornhub Under Fire Again as Congress is Asked to Investigate Exploitation

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Posted: May 22, 2021 1:45 PM

More than 750 people, including victims of sexual exploitation and members of groups advocating for helping survivors, are insisting that Congress investigate Pornhub.

The letter to the leaders and ranking members of the House committees on Oversight and Reform, Judiciary, and Homeland Security said that the pornography company “violated federal sex trafficking and child protection laws” and “monetized sexual abuse."

MindGeek, which owns Pornhub, was accused of “corporate indifference regarding harm caused to women and children on its platform" and of "facilitating and profiting from criminal acts including sex trafficking, filmed sexual abuse of children, and non-consensually recorded and distributed pornography."

Pornhub took down millions of videos from its website after an article in The New York Times was published in December 2020, alleging that the pornography platform profited from videos illustrating rape. It also stopped permitting users to download videos.

The letter to Congress continues:

The company has violated federal age verification and record keeping laws under 18 USC Section 2257 for over a decade. This is because the download button caused the direct transfer of pornography from MindGeek servers to individuals’ devices around the globe.

Pornhub wrote in an announcement following the article being published:

As part of our policy to ban unverified uploaders, we have now also suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by content partners or members of the Model Program. 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.

They said that the independent, third-party Internet Watch Foundation "reported 118 incidents" of child sexual abuse incidents on its site but that it is “still 118 too many, which is why we are committed to taking every necessary action.”

Pornhub also said that it was being targeted, not because of illegal activity, but because they produce adult content, noting that the two groups that were leading the campaign against them last year, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and Exodus Cry/TraffickingHub, were known for advocating for the pornography platform to be abolished entirely.

Following the article by The Times, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R) and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) announced the Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act, which would mandate that pornography sites such as Pornhub verify the identities of users who upload sexually explicit content. Consent forms from every participating person would also be required.