The Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in Canada's House of Commons held a hearing concerning allegations made against Pornhub's content moderation policies. The allegations featured in a New York Times article by Nicholas Kristof and
were based on a religious group Exodus Cry's Traffickinghub campaign against the tube site and parent company MindGeek.
MindGeek is headquartered in Luxembourg, although many of its operations are run from Montreal and the two people identified by the
New York Times as owners are Canadian nationals.
The committee heard from a witness who retold her story of having difficulties getting Pornhub to remove a video she had shot of herself as a teenager, which then she sent to a boyfriend and which
was allegedly repeatedly uploaded onto the tube site by unidentified third parties.
The committee also heard from New York lawyer Michael Bowe, who has previously represented disgraced evangelist Jerry Falwell Jr. and Donald Trump. Bowe made
repeated claims about a supposed conspiracy masterminded by MindGeek, and their agents and allies to gaslight the public opinion about the organized international campaign against Pornhub. Bowe also asked for Canada to change their laws to make MindGeek
accountable, and stated that in his opinion the company committed criminal offenses.
Update: Pornhub Releases Statement About Content Moderation Changes
6th February 2021. See
statement from help.pornhub.com
Going forward, we will only allow properly identified users to upload content. We have banned downloads. We have made some key expansions to our moderation process, and we recently launched a Trusted Flagger Program with dozens of non-profit
organizations. Earlier this year, we also partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and next year we will issue our first transparency report. Full details on our expanded policies can be found below.
If you wish to report any content that violates our terms of service, including CSAM or other illegal content, please click this link .
1. Verified Uploaders Only
immediately, only content partners and people within the Model Program will be able to upload content to Pornhub. In the new year, we will implement a verification process so that any user can upload content upon successful completion of identification
2. Banning Downloads
Effective immediately, we have removed the ability for users to download content from Pornhub, with the exception of paid downloads within the verified Model Program.
In tandem with our fingerprinting technology, this will mitigate the ability for content already removed from the platform to be able to return.
3. Expanded Moderation
We have worked to create
comprehensive measures that help protect our community from illegal content. In recent months we deployed an additional layer of moderation. The newly established "Red Team" will be dedicated solely to self-auditing the platform for potentially
illegal material. The Red Team provides an extra layer of protection on top of the existing protocol, proactively sweeping content already uploaded for potential violations and identifying any breakdowns in the moderation process that could allow a piece
of content that violates the Terms of Service. Additionally, while the list of banned keywords on Pornhub is already extensive, we will continue to identify additional keywords for removal on an ongoing basis. We will also regularly monitor search terms
within the platform for increases in phrasings that attempt to bypass the safeguards in place. Pornhub's current content moderation includes an extensive team of human moderators dedicated to manually reviewing every single upload, a thorough system for
flagging, reviewing and removing illegal material, robust parental controls, and utilization of a variety of automated detection technologies. These technologies include:
CSAI Match, YouTube's proprietary technology for combating Child Sexual Abuse Imagery online
Content Safety API, Google's artificial intelligence tool that helps detect illegal imagery
PhotoDNA, Microsoft's technology that aids in finding and removing known images of child exploitation
Vobile, a fingerprinting software that scans any new uploads for potential matches to unauthorized
materials to protect against banned videos being re-uploaded to the platform.
If a user encounters a piece of content they think may violate the Terms of Service, we encourage them to immediately flag the video or fill out the Content Removal Request Form , which is linked on every page.
Our policy is to immediately disable any content reported in the Content Removal Request Form for review.
4. Trusted Flagger Program
We recently launched a Trusted Flagger
Program, a new initiative empowering non-profit partners to alert us of content they think may violate our Terms of Service. The Trusted Flagger Program consists of more than 40 leading non-profit organizations in the space of internet and child safety.
Our partners have a direct line of access to our moderation team, and any content identified by a Trusted Flagger is immediately disabled. Partners include: Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (United States of America), National Center for Missing &
Exploited Children (United States of America), Internet Watch Foundation (United Kingdom), Stopline (Austria), Child Focus (Belgium), Safenet (Bulgaria), Te Protejo Hotline - I Protect You Hotline (Colombia), CZ.NIC - Stop Online (Czech Republic ), Point
de Contact (France), Eco-Association of the Internet Industry (Germany), Safeline (Greece), Save the Children (Iceland), Latvian Internet Association (Latvia), Meldpunt Kinderporno - Child Pornography Reporting Point (Netherlands), Centre for Safer
Internet Slovenia (Slovenia), FPB Hotline - Film and Publication Board (South Africa), ECPAT (Sweden), ECPAT (Taiwan).
5. NCMEC Partnership
Last year, we voluntarily partnered with the National
Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) in order to transparently report and limit incidents of CSAM on our platform. In early 2021, NCMEC will release our total number of reported CSAM incidents alongside numbers from other major social and
content platforms. We will also continue to work with law enforcement globally to report and curb any issues of illegal content.
6. Transparency Report
In 2021, we will release a Transparency Report
detailing our content moderation results from 2020. This will identify not just the full number of reports filed with NCMEC, but also other key details related to the trust and safety of our platform. Much like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other tech
platforms, Pornhub seeks to be fully transparent about the content that should and should not appear on the platform. This will make us the only adult content platform to release such a report.
7. Independent Review
As part of our commitment, in April 2020 we hired the law firm of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP to conduct an independent review of our content compliance function, with a focus on meeting legal standards and eliminating all
non-consensual content, CSAM and any other content uploaded without the meaningful consent of all parties. We requested that the goal of the independent review be to identify the requisite steps to achieve a "best-in-class" content compliance
program that sets the standard for the technology industry. Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP is continuing its review, but has already identified and categorized a comprehensive inventory of remedial recommendations, supported by dozens of additional
sub-recommendations, in addition to the steps identified above, based on an evaluation and assessment of our current policies and practices. Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP is soliciting information to assist with its review and in developing
recommendations regarding our compliance policies and procedures. If you would like to provide compliance suggestions, you can do so here .