Pornhub has removed around 10 millions videos that were uploaded by unverified users. The moves comes following an explosive report, undertaken by the New York Times, which revealed the platform was being used to show videos of child abuse and non-consensual sexual behaviour.

In a blog post on Monday, Pornhub said it had “enacted the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history.” These safeguards include; barring unverified uploaders from adding new content, eliminating the ability to download most videos and removing all previously uploaded content that was not created by Pornhub’s verified content partners or members of its adult performer network.

Moving forward, uploads to the site would be limited to verified users only and would now only come from official content partners or members of Pornhub’s “Model Program,” which requires age verification to sign up.

The changes have seen the number of videos uploaded on the website plummet from 13.5 million to just under three million in less than a week. While the site does host professionally shot content, its primary function operates much like YouTube, where users can upload their own content and cash in on ad revenue.

 In his report for the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof described recordings depicting the assaults of unconscious women and girls on Pornhub’s website. Kristof continued by saying that Pornhub allows videos to be downloaded directly from its site, leaving room for content to spread and be reposted to the internet even after it had been taken down.

Pornhub vehemently denied the allegations, stating that any assertion it allows child sex abuse material on its platform is “irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.”

This is not the first time a website and subsequent company has come under fire for the misuse of its online platforms. In 2018 an online classifieds site used by sex workers was linked to human trafficking and subsequently seized by the FBI. The CEO would later plead guilty to charges including conspiring to facilitate prostitution and money laundering.

While not uploaded to Pornhub, a recent case in Australia involving Brazilian tourist Fabricio Da Silva Claudino and his partner, stands as a reminder of the negative effects of sharing unsolicited material online without prior consent. In 2019, Da Silva Claudino filmed himself and his ex-partner have consensual sex at his home in Marrickville before allegedly uploading the content to OnlyFans without consent and subsequently promoting the material to 130,000 social media followers.

Last week, a Sydney Central Local Court judge sentenced Da Silva Claudino to 11 months in prison, with a non-parole period of seven months, for the image-based abuse offences. Now, after months spent in jail, Da Silva Claudino is set to be deported back to Brazil.

All three cases mentioned here stand as a timely remainder, that for all the greatness that the internet has brought to the world, there still remains a dark underbelly to the digital realm.

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