Instagram Removes Pornhub’s Account

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Instagram has suspended Pornhub’s widely followed account on the social platform.

Before the sex site’s account was removed from Instagram, Pornhub had 13.1 million followers and more than 6,200 posts. Reps for Meta, Instagram’s parent company, did not respond to a request for comment.

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The move comes one month after Visa and Mastercard cut off payment privileges of TrafficJunky, the advertising arm of Pornhub parent company MindGeek. That followed a federal court ruling in July rejecting Visa’s request to be removed from a case in which MindGeek is being sued for allegedly distributing child pornography and that alleges Visa knowingly facilitated MindGeek’s ability to monetize the illegal content.

On its Instagram account, Pornhub shared nonpornographic videos and images. However, it had “directly promoted pornography” and featured videos like “Next Career Goal” encouraging people to become pornography performers, according to Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. The NCOSE had been among a group of advocates that has lobbied Instagram to remove Pornhub.

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

Pornhub’s Twitter account (3.4 million followers) remains active, as does its official YouTube channel (882,000 subscribers), where it shares “safe-for-work” video content.

In June, MindGeek CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo resigned. The Montreal, Quebec-based company also laid off an unknown number of employees.

The plaintiff in the case against MindGeek that names Visa as a defendent is Serena Fleites, who, when she was 13, said she was pressured by her then-boyfriend into making a sexually explicit video — which he allegedly uploaded to Pornhub without her knowledge or consent. Fleites is one of more than two dozen individual plaintiffs who last year sued Pornhub and MindGeek, alleging exploitation and monetization of child pornography, rape videos, trafficked content and stolen content.

In a previous statement, MindGeek said it has “zero tolerance for the posting of illegal content on its platforms, and has instituted the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history… Any insinuation that MindGeek does not take the elimination of illegal material seriously is categorically false.”

The company says it has banned uploads from anyone who has not submitted government-issued ID that passes third-party verification, eliminated the ability to download free content, integrated several content moderation tools, and instituted digital fingerprinting of all videos found to be in violation of its policies forbidding non-consensual content and child sexual abuse material (CSAM) to help prevent removed videos being reposted. MindGeek also says it has expanded its moderation workforce and processes, and partnered with dozens of nonprofit organizations around the world.

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