Pornhub Bans Downloads Following Alleged Child Abuse Content Claims

by : Emily Brown on : 09 Dec 2020 08:51
Pornhub Bans Downloads Following Alleged Child Abuse Content ClaimsPornhub/Instagram

Pornhub has made significant changes to its content policies, including limiting uploads and banning downloads, followed allegations it hosted videos involving underage girls. 

Users previously did not have to be verified to upload videos, but the new policies mean that is no longer the case. It is a significant shift for the company, which largely relied upon non-professional uploads in its early days.


Pornhub announced the changes on December 7, explaining they will be effective immediately. In the short term, it means uploads will be restricted to content partners and members of the platform’s Model Program.

Pornhub modelPornhub/Instagram

The company plans to roll out a broader verification process for regular users next year, allowing any user who goes through an identification process to upload content.

Downloads have been blocked entirely, with the exception of paid content from the Model Program, whose users are verified.


As well as limiting the way unverified members use the platform, Pornhub has pledged to increase moderation of the content currently on the platform with a newly established ‘Red Team’, who will be ‘proactively sweeping content already uploaded for potential violations and identifying any breakdowns in the moderation process’.

Pornhub modelPornhub/Instagram

The company will publish a transparency report in 2021 detailing findings from its moderation, including details about any child sexual abuse materials found on the platform.

The changes come after a New York Times article detailed allegations of child abuse and sexual assault videos on the site. The report referred to a number of young girls who allegedly appeared in Pornhub videos without consent, and who continued to be the subject of downloaded copies even after the videos were removed from the website.


Pornhub attributed its changes to an independent review launched in April that aimed at eliminating all illegal content from the platform, rather than a response to the article.

Pornhub modelPornhub/Instagram

The company referred to its focus on ‘trust and safety’ in a statement, explaining:

Our core values such as inclusivity, freedom of expression and privacy are only possible when our platform is trusted by our users. Every online platform has the moral responsibility to join this fight, and it requires collective action and constant vigilance.


Following the release of the article, Pornhub’s business partners faced mounting pressure to cut ties with the website.

According to Reuters, billionaire investor Bill Ackman called on Mastercard and Visa Inc. to temporarily withhold payments to Pornhub. The two payment processors have launched investigations into their financial ties with Pornhub in response to the allegations.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, child abuse, Pornhub, Sexual Assault


  1. Reuters

    Pornhub bans video downloads following report of alleged child abuse content