Pornhub booted off Instagram after complaints from anti-sexual exploitation group

A Pornhub logo is displayed at the company's booth at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 24, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Getty Images/Ethan Miller

A nonprofit that advocates against sexual exploitation praised Instagram’s reported decision to suspend Pornhub, citing the move as proof that the social media company acknowledges the severity of the accusations against the MindGeek-owned platform. 

As the National Center on Sexual Exploitation reported on Saturday, the Meta-owned platform removed Pornhub's account followed by over 13 million with over 6,200 posts. While the account didn't share pornographic content, it promoted pornography and encouraged users to become pornography performers. 

“Instagram was right to remove Pornhub from its platform for violating its community standards given the increasing reports of Pornhub hosting child sexual abuse material, sex trafficking, filmed rape, and non-consensual videos and images,” NCOSE CEO Dawn Hawkins said in a statement shared with The Chrisitan Post.

“Instagram served as a distribution partner with this criminal enterprise, helping to push millions to their website, including children. We are grateful that Instagram has heard the voices of sexual abuse survivors who have been personally harmed by Pornhub’s insatiable appetite for profit,” she continued. 

The NCOSE CEO stated that Pornhub had a blue verification check despite encouraging children to pursue a career in the pornography industry and ongoing accusations of illegal activity. 

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

NCOSE, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, works to expose the public health harms of pornography and expose systems that enable sexual abuse and exploitation.

In a November 2021 memo, NCOSE shared with Instagram its concerns about children's vulnerability to human trafficking and the presence of Pornhub on Instagram. While NCOSE acknowledged Pornhub’s page is not sexually graphic, its Instagram channel reportedly encouraged careers in the industry through videos like “Next Career Goal.”

The nonprofit partnered with similar organizations in November 2019 to run the #WakeUpInstagram campaign, calling on the social media platform to stop facilitating child sexual abuse and grooming. 

Instagram did not immediately respond to CP’s request for comment.

Pornhub’s potential criminality and exploitative content garnered increased attention due to a December 2020 New York Times exposé on the subject. The article accused the platform of profiting from "child rapes" and other horrific "racist and misogynist content." 

Visa and Mastercard responded to the allegations by announcing that same month that they would temporarily prevent their cards from being used on Pornhub. 

In an April 2021 blog post, Mastercard outlined new rules for banks that process payments for pornography websites. The company required banks to ensure pornography websites verified the age and identity of individuals depicted online and whether the materials were posted with their consent. 

In a July blog post, NOCSE announced that Visa had re-established its relationship with MindGeek, the company that owns Pornhub and other porn sites. The nonprofit stated that Visa "failed to follow the example of Mastercard in requiring that sites hosting sexually explicit material implement common-sense measures to prevent and remove illegal content." 

lawsuit was filed in July against MindGeek in the U.S. District Court Central District of California. The plaintiff, Serene Fleites, alleged that Pornhub hosted a sexually explicit video of her 13-year-old self in 2014. Fleites claimed that her boyfriend pressured her into making the video and posted it online without her consent.

MindGeek posted the video online, and it garnered over 400,000 views, profiting from the revenue it earned from advertisements in the video, the lawsuit alleged. 

Visa was listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, and U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney denied Visa's motion to be dismissed from the litigation. The plaintiff argued that Visa knew MindGeek contained child pornography and had failed to take it down.

"When MindGeek decides to monetize child porn, and Visa decides to continue to allow its payment network to be used for that goal despite knowledge of MindGeek's monetization of child porn, it is entirely foreseeable that victims of child porn like plaintiff will suffer the harms that plaintiff alleges," Judge Carney wrote. 

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