Pornhub accuses mainstream social media of ‘discriminating’ against sex workers following YouTube ban

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Pornhub has accused social media companies of discriminating against the adult industry, and acting in a “dangerous and harmful” way towards sex workers, following Pornhub’s YouTube account being removed.

On Friday, December 16, 2022, Pornhub’s official YouTube account, where it posted non-porn videos promoting the brand, was terminated by the video-hosting platform, which said the porn company committed “multiple violations” of its policies.

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Pornhub’s YouTube account was launched in December 2014 and had around 900,000 subscribers just before its removal. The move completed a hat-trick of major social media kick-offs for the porn site, which was booted off TikTok earlier in December and Instagram in September.

YouTube claimed that Pornhub linked to external sources that featured material that contained content not allowed on YouTube, according to Variety.

A YouTube spokesperson says that the company “terminated the channel Pornhub Official following multiple violations of our Community Guidelines. We enforce our policies equally for everyone, and channels that repeatedly violate or are dedicated to violative content are terminated”.

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Social media platforms are generally becoming less tolerant of porn and nudity, with Twitter the only major one that still allows both. Pornhub attempted to frame the YouTube kick-off, which came after financial organisations such as Mastercard have also cut ties with the porn site, as discrimination that unfairly punishes sex workers.

“Unfortunately, this is just the latest example of discrimination against those in the adult industry, a trend seen across social media and all other facets of life, especially as groups disingenuously conflate consensual adult content with exploitation,” a spokesperson of the Mindgeek-owned company says.

“Performers and sex workers are marginalized groups that rely on social media to engage with fans, earn money and support themselves and their families. YouTube’s haphazard and arbitrary enforcement of its policies against Pornhub and those involved with the adult industry is dangerous and harmful, and we demand that social media companies treat us the same way they treat everyone else,” they added.

It’s certainly true that sex workers making a living from creating online porn are finding it tougher to promote themselves on mainstream social media platforms. TikTok’s rules about sex-related content are so stringent, that you’re not usually even allowed to say the word “clitoris” on the video-sharing app.

However, Pornhub has faced something of a reckoning since 2020, following reports about the site allegedly featuring underage models in its porn content, plus questions about consent.

“Pornhub maintains the absolute best trust and safety measures on the internet and takes special care to ensure it does not violate any of YouTube’s Community Guidelines,” the Pornhub spokesperson said.

Read next: ‘Real amateur homemade’: Pornhub’s 2022 year in review // All aboard the Boob Bus: A brief history of Pornhub // Privacy 101: How to keep your browsing and other online activity as private as possible

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Jamie F

Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice.

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