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Massive Porn Site Xvideos Investigated for Hosting Videos of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

By February 15, 2021No Comments

Two months ago, one of the world’s most prominent porn sites purged its site of close to 10 million unverified videos. That site was Pornhub.

Why?

New York Times award-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof wrote an illuminating exposé on the site discussing its practice of hosting illicit and exploitative content including videos of child sexual abuse material (also known as “child porn” and “CSAM” for short), revenge porn, nonconsensual porn, sex trafficking sexual exploitation, and so much more.

To add insult to injury, Visa and Mastercard also announced they would be suspending their payment processing services with Pornhub because, as Marcel Gajdoes—CEO of Visa for Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary—put it, “We do not tolerate the use of our network and products for illegal activities.”

With Pornhub’s story as a backdrop, it’s no surprise that another domino, in the form of the world’s most visited porn website Xvideos, has begun to fall. This is a big deal—Xvideos receives about 3.4 billion site visitors per month.

In mid-January 2021, it came to light that Xvideos enables and allows the streaming and sharing of pornographic videos depicting sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation of children and minors. Additionally, it is suspected that the illegal content provided by the site could even be directly sourced by shared videos containing CSAM.

Related: Are Porn Sites Protecting Victims Of Nonconsensual Content? We Investigated, Here’s What We Found

According to Czech news site Prague Morning, a massive part of why this kind of content is able to be uploaded to the site is due to the fact that any user on the Xvideos’ server can upload content with minimal to no restrictions—a similar issue to the one Pornhub had up until December 2020.

The police of the Czech Republic and the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office, those investigating the porn site, say that the platform will be seriously dealt with. Petr Malý, a spokesman for the Chief Prosecutor, has said that the case has been referred to the Criminal Police Service and Investigations for further action.

Give One For Love

Follow the money

When it comes to porn, more content tends to equal more money. That’s because different viewers have different tastes and more content lends itself to catering to a wider array of viewer tastes. More viewers mean a wider net to hook potential subscribers (who pay for exclusive content). It also means more clicks, which translates into more ad revenue because companies who sell ads pay more when their ads are being seen by more people and by a more captive audience.

So, what are we getting at?

Well, if more content equals more money, then it makes sense from a business standpoint that porn sites like Pornhub and Xvideos police uploads less strictly than they should. The problem is that it does not make ethical sense.

Related: This Popular Porn Site Uses An Unpaid, Untrained, Volunteer Team To Evaluate Illicit Content

When Pornhub went on its purging spree in December 2020, available videos to watch dropped from 13.5 million to 4.7 million in a matter of one night. In other words, Pornhub removed most of the videos on its site, including its most-viewed non-verified amateur video, which had over 29 million views! That can only mean a lesser pool of potential subscribers and lower ad revenue, which translates into less profit. And this is a big deal, seeing as the largest players in the porn industry have historically seemed to care about profits over people.

The case against Xvideos is also massive considering the fact that the company that operates Xvideos’ server, WGCZ Holding, makes close to 1 billion Czech Koruna (or approximately $47 million) yearly, and some portion of that is surely earned from videos containing sexual exploitation.

Related: Pornhub Just Removed Over Half Of The Site’s Content In A Purge Of Unverified Videos

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The stories behind the money

How can a “woke” culture that claims to fight against the acceptance of exploitation and abuse also support an industry that profits from both, and worse?

In 2009, a 14-year-old female by the name of Rose was abducted and raped by two men in a 12-hour long overnight attack. The assault was also recorded by a third man.

Sometime following the attack, Rose’s school peers alerted her to a Pornhub link that revealed videos with hundreds of thousands of views and titles like “teen crying and getting slapped around,” “teen getting destroyed,” and “passed out teen.”

Every single one of those videos was reportedly of Rose from the night of the assault. And the worst part is that Rose isn’t the only one who has suffered from something like this happening.

Related: Visa And Mastercard Sever Ties With Pornhub Due To Abusive Content On The Site

In November 2019, videos of a 15-year-old girl who had been missing for a year were found on Pornhub. She had become a victim of sex trafficking, and yet the porn site hosted 58 videos of her being raped by her trafficker and other sex buyers.

10 years later and the same old story for Pornhub, just with a different girl.

And in yet another strike for the porn giant, before the majority of videos were removed from the site, there were also reportedly 20 rape tapes on Pornhub that depicted secretly recorded assaults against 20 women. And, what’s worse, is the guy who videotaped his abuse, Taiwanese socialite and playboy Justin Lee, was arrested in 2012, convicted of raping 20 women, and sentenced to almost 80 years in prison.

One might think that a profile case as Lee’s would lead to more action and care on the side of the porn site, but that’s sadly not the case. It wasn’t until December 2020, when millions of videos were removed from the site due to Mastercard and Visa’s investigations, that significant action was taken.

Is Xvideos next? It’s possible.

Related: Telegram Deepfake Bot Creates Nonconsensual Nude Images Of 680,000 Women, Some Of Them Underage

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Why this matters

Time and time again mainstream porn sites have shown themselves to be inadequate of moderating content. A working theory is because the business models of these sites are effectively incentivized to be relaxed policers of uploaded content because relaxed moderation tends to increase the sites’ monetary bottom line. Less moderation equals more content, and more content to profit off of.

Related: “Am I In Porn?”: This Tool Searches Porn Sites To See If Your Images Are Used In Videos

With that in mind, it wouldn’t be shocking if other porn sites are also permitting sexually exploitative content on their platforms for the sake of views, clicks, engagement, and downloads. But now, accountability is being demanded from victims and advocates alike.

As we said earlier, Pornhub and Xvideos have been the first two porn sites to face long-overdue scrutiny. Depending on what happens next, other sites hosting illicit content like CSAM, nonconsensual content, and image-based abuse will be held accountable for the sake of those who have had their violations profited off of.

To learn more about how exploitation-free porn is not harm-free, click here.

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