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Instagram bans Pornhub amid claims of questionable promotions, child sexual abuse content

By Arielle Yapchiongco Published Sep 05, 2022 8:40 pm

Instagram has suspended Pornhub from its platform following worsening allegations of trafficking and child abuse content. 

The suspension came only a month after Visa and Mastercard cut off payment privileges of TrafficJunky, the advertising arm of the sex site’s parent company MindGeek.  

According to Variety, Pornhub’s Instagram account consisted of nonpornographic videos and pictures, but National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) CEO Dawn Hawkins stated that the site openly promoted pornography and released several videos like “Next Career Goal” to encourage people to become pornographic performers. 

“Instagram is courageously choosing to stop partnering with Pornhub, and it is time for all corporate entities to follow its example,” Hawkins said. 

Prior to the ban, Pornhub had amassed a total of 13.1 million followers and more than 6,100 posts on Instagram. The pornographic site is still active on Twitter and YouTube, which currently has 3.4 million followers and 882,000 subscribers respectively. 

Alongside the platform ban, issues have also been raised against MindGeek and Pornhub regarding the alleged distribution and monetization of child pornography.  

Among the two dozens of plaintiffs that filed lawsuits against the two companies for allegedly exploiting and monetizing illegal content was Serena Fleites, who also named Visa as the defendant of MindGeek. She alleged that the payment network was engaged in a collusion with Pornhub’s parent company.

In February, the 19-year-old Fleites told Canada's House of Commons that in 2004, she was pressured by a former boyfriend to make a sexually explicit video and uploaded it on Pornhub. Fleites was only 13 years old at that time.

In a July 31 article by Variety, the representative for MindGeek spoke up about the allegations. The company stated that it had “zero tolerance for the posting of illegal content on its platforms, and has instituted the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history.” 

MindGeek added that it had banned uploads from people who failed to submit a government-issued ID that passes third-party verification, removed the download function for free content, integrated moderation tools, and instituted digital fingerprinting of all content found to violate policies that forbid non-consensual content and child sexual abuse material (CSAM) to help stop the videos from spreading.

MindGeek also stated that it has strengthened its moderation workforce and collaborated with several non-profit organizations from around the world. 

Meanwhile, Instagram's parent company Meta has yet to comment on the issue of Pornhub's removal from its photo and video-sharing app.