8 March, 2021

In December, Pornhub banned all non-verified users from posting content on the site, and deleted all content uploaded from unverified sources. This was more than 80% of all videos on the platform with suspending new verifications, and pending revised policies. 

On Tuesday, Pornhub announced more details on how it plans to address abuse on its platform, including expanding its human moderation team, a transparency report, and introducing biometric technology to verify users who upload videos. This announcement came after claims that the platform hosted child sexual abuse material. Many major payment processors including Visa and Mastercard suspended services to Pornhub indefinitely following those allegations. Consequently sex workers who use the platform for income said this will deffinitely harm them.

The announcement clarified that the verification will still be limited to people in Pornhub’s Model Program, and will be done by Yoti, a digital identity verification company, by providing a current photo and government -approved identification document. According to the statement:

“Yoti will check the validity of the ID document and match the user’s ID document to their photo using secure biometric technology“.  

Pornhub promised more details about how verification would work in the new year—while fetish and trans creators wondered if identity verification would exclude them from using the platform. On a Twitter post of the trans performer Dylan Thomas, Yoti clarified the current situation and linked the announcement of the partnership from 2019 that says the organizations are working together to make the process of proving one’s identity more inclusive.

Other portions of the expanded policies include details about how moderators will “regularly monitor search terms within the platform for increases in phrasings that attempt to bypass the safeguards in place.”

A Motherboard investigation in 2020 found that Pornhub users could bypass the platform’s moderation efforts with slightly modified search terms. Platforms like Facebook and YouTube have been criticized in the past about their poor labor practices for moderators who have to view violent or sexually explicit content all day.

“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,” Pornhub said in the statement. “This report will be the first of its kind among adult content platforms, setting the standard for transparency and accountability in the industry.”

Motherboard reached out to Visa and Mastercard to ask if the expanded policies will affect their policies on payment suspensions. Visa said that the suspension for Pornhub remains in effect until it completes its ongoing investigation, Mastercard did not respond.

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