Pornhub

Pornhub is a pornographic video sharing and pornography website.[6][7] It was launched in Montreal in 2007.[8] Pornhub also has an office and servers in Limassol, Cyprus.[9]

In March 2010, the company was bought by MindGeek (known then as Manwin), which owns numerous other pornographic websites. The site is available internationally but has been blocked by some individual countries such as the Philippines, Pakistan, mainland China and India. It offers virtual reality (VR) porn, amongst other products, and hosts the Pornhub Awards annually. As of June 2020, Pornhub is the 10th most trafficked website in the world and the 3rd most trafficked adult website after XVideos and XNXX.[10]

Incidents have been reported of Pornhub hosting non-consensual pornography.[11] The company has been criticised for slow or inadequate responses to some of these incidents, including the hosting of the high-profile channel Girls Do Porn, which was closed in 2019 following a lawsuit and charges of sex trafficking.[11][12][13][14]

Pornhub was founded by web developer Matt Keezer as a website within the company Interhub, and launched on 25 May 2007.[15] In March 2010, the company was purchased by Fabian Thylmann as part of the Manwin conglomerate, now known as MindGeek.[16] In 2013, Thylmann sold his stake in the company to senior management – Feras Antoon and David Tassillo.[4] As part of MindGeek, Pornhub makes up one of several pornographic websites in the company's "Pornhub NETWORK", alongside YouPorn, RedTube[3] and the like. Though not the most popular pornographic website, Pornhub is the single largest such website on the internet, hosting more videos than any similar site.[6][needs update]

The website allows visitors to view pornographic videos from a number of categories, including professional and amateur pornography. Users can share videos on social media websites and leave "like" or "dislike" votes. Users may also optionally register a free Pornhub account, which additionally allows them to post comments, download videos and add videos to their favourites, as well as upload videos themselves. Videos can be flagged if they contain content which violates the website's terms of service.

In an effort to introduce quality curation to the site, the company launched a service called "Pornhub Select" in October 2013.[17] Pornhub also launched a content curation website on 9 October 2013 called "PornIQ", which uses an algorithm to create personalized video playlists for the viewer based on a number of factors, including their porn preferences, the time of day they're visiting the website, what part of the world they live in and the amount of time the viewer has to watch the video(s).[18][19] David Holmes of PandoDaily noted that Pornhub's data-intensive approach to playlists set it apart from previous attempts at user-generated playlists, and marked a new trend in the switch from content searching to passive curation among Web 2.0 websites.[19]

As of 2009, three of the largest pornographic sites "RedTube, YouPorn and PornHub—collectively make up 100 million unique visitors".[20]

In June 2015, Pornhub announced that it was going to make a pornographic film featuring real-life sex in space, named Sexplorations. The site hoped to launch the mission and shoot the movie in 2016, covering the pre- and post-production costs itself but seeking $3.4 million from IndieGogo crowdfunders. If funded, the film would have been slated for a 2016 release, following six months of training for the two performers and six-person crew.[21][22]

On 1 February 2016, Pornhub launched an online casino, powered by Betsoft, Endorphina and 1x2 gaming software.[23]

On 1 April 2016, April Fool's Day, the website's front page became CornHub, displaying videos of sweet corn with sexually alluring titles.[24] In 2018, the front page became HornHub.[25]

In October 2017, vice president Corey Price announced that Pornhub would use computer vision and artificial intelligence software to identify and tag videos on the website with information about the performers and sex acts. Price said the company planned to scan its entire library beginning in early 2018.[26][27]

In March 2020, the website released its first non-sexual content, a documentary film called Shakedown about a Los Angeles black lesbian strip club in the early 2000s.[28]

Pornhub features virtual reality videos which allow 360° viewing for premium customers. It can be used with the PlayStation VR, though videos need to be downloaded from a computer and transferred via USB.[29]

In 2015, Pornhub announced a planned wearable technology called the "Wankband": a wristband which stores kinetic energy during male masturbation, and can then be used to charge devices.[30][31] As of 2020, Pornhub's website says that the product is in development.[32]

In May 2018, Pornhub launched a VPN called VPNHub, available in the U.S. and many countries which the U.S. does business with. The free version contains adverts.[33]

Pornhub employs Vobile to search for uploads of banned videos to remove them from the site.[11] Non-consensual content or personally identifiable information present on Pornhub can be reported to the company via an online form.[34] However, Pornhub has been criticised for its response to non-consensual pornography and sex trafficking.[11] Journalists at Vice criticised that Pornhub profits from "content that's destroyed lives, and continues to do harm".[12][35]

In 2009, a 14-year-old girl was gang raped at knifepoint and claims the videos were uploaded to Pornhub. The girl stated that she emailed Pornhub repeatedly over a period of six months, but received no reply. After she impersonated a lawyer, the videos were removed.[11] Another case in October 2019 involved a man who faces charges of lewd and lascivious battery of a 15-year-old girl, videos of which were discovered on Pornhub, Modelhub, Periscope and Snapchat that lead to his arrest.[36] The UK based activist group Not Your Porn was founded by the friend of a woman whose iCloud storage had been hacked, leading to the hacker posting sexually explicit photos and videos on Pornhub alongside her full name. Pornhub removed the video when reported, but clones of the video using her full name replicated faster than the videos were removed. The woman found that "the fractured communication system at Pornhub has meant this has become an increasingly excruciating process". The founder of Not Your Porn reported that fifty women contacted her over a six-month period about non-consensual online pornography featuring them, thirty of whom reported that the videos were uploaded to Pornhub.[11][37]

In 2019, the official Girls Do Porn channel, verified by Pornhub, was removed from the site. It was the 20th-largest channel on the website. On 10 October 2019, the two owners and two employees were arrested on three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, after a civil lawsuit filed in July.[38] The channel was removed a week afterwards, which journalists at Daily Dot and Motherboard said was a slow response to the incident. Additionally, the videos could still be found afterwards unofficially on Pornhub's website.[13][14][12][11]

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) found 118 instances of child sexual abuse material on Pornhub between 2017 and 2019.[39] Pornhub rapidly removed this content.[40] An IWF spokesperson said that other social networks and communication tools posed more of an issue than Pornhub in regard to this type of content.[40]

In response to abusive content on the site, an online petition calling for the shutdown of Pornhub gained over one million signatures throughout 2020.[41][42]The petition was started by anti-trafficking activist Laila Mickelwait,[43] and was addressed to the executives of MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub. The petition notes numerous instances of non-consensual and child abuse material on the website, including a child trafficking victim who was made a "verified model" by the site.[44] In response to the petition, Pornhub claimed they were commited to removing such material from the site.[45]

In 2010, Mansef Inc. and Interhub, the then-owners of Pornhub, were sued by the copyright holding company of the pornographic film production company Pink Visual, Ventura Content, for the copyright infringement of 95 videos on websites, including Pornhub, Keezmovies, Extremetube, and Tube8.[46] According to Ventura Content, the 45 videos were streamed "tens of millions of times"[47] and they claimed the piracy threatened the "entire adult entertainment industry".[48] The suit was settled in October 2010, with terms that remain confidential. The parties agreed that the site operators would implement digital fingerprint filtering on their sites.[49] Porn 2.0 sites such as these are seen as posing notable competition for paid pornographic websites and traditional magazine and DVD-based pornography.[50][51][52]

In 2014, researcher Conrad Longmore found that advertisements displayed by the sites contained malware programs, which install harmful files on users' machines without their permission. Longmore told the BBC that of pornography websites, Pornhub and XHamster pose the greatest threat.[53]

Pornhub has hosted events and campaigns to raise awareness of breast cancer.[54] The first of these events took place in New York City on 24 April 2012, with the introduction of the "Boob Bus",[55][56][57] which offered free breast exams for passers-by, as well as teaching self-examination techniques to use at home.[56] Pornhub hosted a "Save the Boobs!" campaign in August 2012.[58][59] For every 30 videos viewed in Pornhub's "big tit" or "small tit" category in the month of October, the website offered to donate a penny to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.[60] However, the Susan G. Komen Foundation rejected the offer, stating that they were not a partner of Pornhub, would not accept their donations and asked the company to stop using their name.[61] A total of 74,146,928 video views were watched, equalling approximately $24,716 worth of donations, which Pornhub subsequently tripled to $75,000.[62] Donations were split amongst several charities, including the Eileen Stein Jacoby Fund and Cancer Sucks Inc.[62][63]

For Arbour Day 2014, Pornhub launched a weeklong environmental campaign called "Pornhub Gives America Wood", which started on 25 April 2014 and ended on 2 May 2014.[64][65][66] In a similar manner to the website's previous "Save the Boobs!" campaign, Pornhub offered to plant a single tree for every 100 videos viewed in the site's "big dick" category.[64]

The inaugural Pornhub Awards was held on 6 September 2018 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles. Kanye West was creative director.[67] At the event, West debuted the music video for his song, "I Love It".[68] The second annual show was held at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on 11 October 2019 and Bad Bunny headlined the event.[69][70]

Under the heading of Pornhub Insights, Pornhub regularly releases information extracted from its archive of searches: in what regions it is most used (conservative areas), female searches vis-à-vis male searches, the most popular search terms by year or area, variations in searches that parallel current events, and the like. (In the first half of 2017, for example, the top search term in the U.S. was "hentai"; 37% of searchers for gay male porn are women.) Every year it releases a Year In Review.[71] Because of this it has been called "the Kinsey Report of our time".[72] According to research by data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, 25% of female searches for heterosexual porn on Pornhub involved keywords searching for painful, humiliating, or non-consensual sex.[73][74]

Pornhub have also reported on traffic trends and their relations to large events. Traffic was below usual levels during the solar eclipse of 21 August 2017.[75] During the 2018 Hawaii false missile alert, web traffic to Pornhub in Hawaii fell by 77% (from typical Saturday figures) at 8:23 am, after the alert was sent, and increased 48% above typical levels at 9:01 am, after notification that the alert was erroneous.[76]

During the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak, when Pornhub offered Pornhub Premium for free, worldwide traffic increased by 18.5%.[77][78]

Laila Mickelwait of the New York Post commented that Pornhub allows or promotes violent pornography with titles and content that are racist and anti-Semitic, including material referencing the killing of George Floyd in May 2020 and the Holocaust. Calev Myers of the said that "the violently aggressive nature of the anti-Semitic rhetoric on Pornhub dehumanizes the Jewish people and brutally assaults the memory of the Holocaust".[79]

In 2011, European broadband provider TalkTalk (formerly Tiscali) received some criticism because its internet filter failed to block Pornhub, for over a week. This was due to the issue of child internet safety.[6]

The Huffington Post explains that in 2013, "CBS...refused to air a short commercial for adult-themed site Pornhub during the Super Bowl on Sunday....The 20-second spot, which features an older couple sitting on a park bench (that's really all that happens), includes no explicit content".[80] It was rejected because the Federal Communications Commission could hold CBS liable for endorsing pornographic content, as it is illegal to air pornography on US television.[80]

The website was blocked by the Great Firewall in China from September 2013.[81]

On 12 March 2014, Pornhub was blocked in Russia because one actress looked too young, leading some viewers to think she was a minor.[82][83]

In January 2017, the Government of the Philippines blocked internet users from accessing Pornhub and other pornography websites. The websites were blocked pursuant to Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Law, which prohibits websites from hosting child pornography content.[84]

The site was blocked in September 2016 in Russia due to "spreading harmful information to children", and reinstated in April 2017 after specifying the age of users. The site requires Russian users to authenticate themselves via the social network VK.[85][86]

In October 2018, the Uttarakhand High Court reinstated a ban on Pornhub in India, but made it optional for ISPs to leave sites that are free of child pornography unblocked.[87] In order to circumvent the ban, Pornhub established a mirror website at Pornhub.net.[87][88]

In November 2020, the government of Thailand blocked Pornhub, amongst other pornography websites.[89]

Pornhub makes a prominent appearance in many scenes of the 2013 romantic comedy film Don Jon.[90] Pornhub Vice President Cory Price explained that one of the film's producers approached the company in March 2012, seeking permission to use the Pornhub brand.[90] Price reviewed the movie's script and granted them permission, going as far as helping them find clips to use in the movie from their content partners (e.g. Brazzers, Mofos, Digital Playground, and Twistys).[90] Joseph Gordon-Levitt, director and actor in the film, edited the clips together into rapid-fire montages, also featured prominently in the film.[90]