Pornhub owners ‘profit from revenge porn’

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Animation of hands holding phones showing porn

The owners of porn streaming site Pornhub are profiting from “revenge porn” and failing to remove videos once reported, BBC News has been told.

One woman, “Sophie”, said she felt “violated” after a video featuring her – uploaded by her ex-partner – was viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Campaign group #NotYourPorn said such content allowed Pornhub owners MindGeek to make greater advertising revenues.

Pornhub said it “strongly condemns” revenge porn.

It added it had “the most progressive anti-revenge-porn policy in the industry”.

It said it could not find “any record of any email” from Sophie asking for the videos featuring her to be taken down, but was now in touch with her and “looking forward to solving this issue together”.

‘Shocked and embarrassed’

Sophie – not her real name – told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she had been on a day out with her family 18 months ago when she had checked her phone to find missed calls and messages.

Her sister’s partner had found videos of her on Pornhub – the world’s largest porn website.

One was in a top 10 chart and had had hundreds of thousands of views.

“I felt shocked, embarrassed and violated,” she said.

Sophie had previously made six videos with her ex-partner.

They broke up about four years ago and she had not given him consent to put them online.

As soon as she found out he had done so, she called him to protest, she said.

Within a week, the videos were taken down.

However, using those six videos, someone had created about 100 video clips, and re-uploaded them to Pornhub.

But when she reported this to the site, it was “not very helpful” in its response, she said.

Sophie was put in touch with another company, which handles Pornhub’s requests to take down videos, but she said it too was unresponsive.

She also went to the police. To date, no-one has been charged.

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Kate Isaacs, from the #NotYourPorn campaign, said revenge porn was often labelled on Pornhub as “amateur” or “home-made” content – two popular search terms for videos that were making the site more valuable for advertisers.

She now wants the site to do more to delete such content as soon as they are made aware of it, and to prevent it from being reuploaded once taken down.

‘The effect on my family’

By the time Sophie discovered the videos of her online, she was in a new relationship – and it placed a strain on the couple.

Her partner’s friends made fun of him over her videos on Pornhub, she said.

Sophie also has a teenage daughter, who she said “hasn’t been the same since”.

Pornhub vice-president Corey Price said: “Content that is uploaded to Pornhub that directly violates our terms of service is removed as soon as we are made aware of it and this includes non-consensual content.

“In 2015, to further ensure the safety of all our fans, we officially took a hard stance against revenge porn, which we believe is a form of sexual assault, and introduced a submission form for the easy removal of non-consensual content.

“We also use a state-of-the-art third-party digital fingerprinting software, which scans any new uploads for potential matches to unauthorised material and makes sure the original video doesn’t go back up on the platform.”

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