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What Do Pornhub Changes Mean For Sex Workers?

What are the major changes to Pornhub that sex workers need to know about?

  1. Discover, Visa and Mastercard are refusing to process payments to Pornhub and are moving to expand that decision to all of MindGeek’s affiliates.

  2. Pornhub has made updates to their Trust and Safety Guidelines including changes to:

  3. Who can upload and download content (this is now restricted to verified users) directly to/from the platform.

  4. Content moderation - Pornhub is developing a “Red Team” to filter out inappropriate content and the platform is establishing a “Trusted Flagger Program” for non-profit organizations to do the same.

  5. Pornhub is removing all videos that were not uploaded by content partners or members of the Model Program dating back to 2007 - roughly 10 million videos have been removed to date.

What kind of changes has Pornhub made to their Trust and Safety Guidelines?

On December 8th, Pornhub announced a series of major changes to the platform:

  1. Only verified users can upload content to the site. Only those within the Model Program and Content Program can upload to the site. In the new year, users will be required to pass a verification process before they are allowed to upload. It’s not clear what this verification process will involve or how rigorous it will be.

  2. Only verified users can download content from the site. Only users within the Model Program are able to download content. It’s important for performers to note that while the platform is restricting downloading capacities it is still possible for uploaded content to be ripped and pirated through third party platforms.

  3. Developing a Red Team to improve content moderation. The “Red Team” will be in charge of auditing the site for “potentially illegal material”

  4. Launching a Trusted Flagger Program The Trusted Flagger Program allows non-profit internet and child safety organizations to flag content to be immediately disabled.

Further details on changes to Pornhub’s Terms of Services can be found here.

What do these Changes Mean for performers?

These are significant changes coming from a porn tube site and while we celebrate this, we also acknowledge that sex workers using these platforms have been rallying for changes to Pornhub’s unverified upload policies for years in response to their work being pirated and reposted to Pornhub, as well as being subjected to gross violations through the uploading of hidden camera videos and revenge porn, which previously could be freely downloaded.

We recognize that this policy change is largely a result of anti-sex work anti-trafficking campaigns with a harmful agenda to abolish the sex industry, and a New York Times piece that made no mention of performers and sex worker rights activists who have been lobbying for these types of changes for decades. While it seems these changes will be beneficial to sex workers in helping to prevent pirating and other unauthorized posting and downloads, it is deeply concerning that it is the voices of anti-trafficking movements that actively oppose sex workers’ rights’ that Pornhub is responding to rather than the workers who make the platform successful and depend on it for income.

What are the Recent Changes by Visa and Mastercard?

As of December 10th, Visa and Mastercard announced they will no longer be providing services to PornHub due to reports of unlawful content on the site. Mastercard finished up an investigation confirming violations, and Visa’s investigation is still underway but they have suspended services to MindGeek in the meantime.

This means that Pornhub is no longer able to accept payments from Visa and Mastercard.

What do these Changes Mean for Performers?

We know this will hardly hurt Pornhub who receives the majority of earnings from ad revenue.

Instead, sex workers will be the most impacted. Users will not be able to use Visa and Mastercard to tip performers, and purchase Modelhub and custom videos and Fan Club subscriptions. At this time it seems that purchases have been temporarily disabled. Pornhub Premium is currently not accepting credit cards, but cryptocurrency only with selections of various coins: Bitcoin,PumaPay, Dash, etc. It may be the case that this will become the only option for tips, subscriptions and video purchases.

Performers will continue to receive payouts for the ad revenue their videos earn, as well as payment from Pornhub. However, we understand earnings will be significantly impacted by the loss of sales due to users’ inability to use a Visa or Mastercard credit card for purchases.

This is not the first time payment processors have denied service to sex workers or adult content platforms, but it is alarming to see the largest credit card companies in the world terminate their relationship with a huge company like Pornhub/Mindgeek which is a household name. We advise that sex workers prepare themselves in the event of more sites losing relationships with payment processors or sites removing sex workers altogether. The introduction of Instagram’s new terms of services which clearly exist to target sex workers, and the Bill S-203 “Protecting Young Persons from Exposure to Pornography Act” which has had its 2nd reading, are all reasons that workers should look into a back-up plan should we see the removal of our community from other sites. A back up plan may consist of building one’s own website and purchasing a domain, and creating mailing lists as a separate online location to redirect clients, and provide information on services and content.