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Instagram Removes Pornhub’s Account

The pornography website had more than 13 million followers on the platform


One of Pornhub’s official social media accounts was removed over the weekend.

Instagram deleted the website’s account, which has 13.1 million followers on Sept. 3. Prominent anti-sex trafficking organizations and child welfare advocates had called on the Meta platform to remove Pornhub.

PornHub’s over 6,000 posts were “safe-for-work content that promoted Pornhub’s various videos and performers,” per The Verge.

The Canada-based platform describes itself as “one of the most prolific adult websites, averaging over 100 billion video views a year” — the equivalent to “12.5 porn videos per person on earth.”

The website has 20 million registered users and receives 100 million visits a day. In one year, Pornhub records 36 billion visits. The Pornhub network also includes YouPorn and Redtube, which receives roughly 125 million daily visits.

Its account had been officially verified by Instagram and was denoted by a blue checkmark.

Laila Mickelwait shared a screenshot of Instagram’s notification that the pornography website’s account had been removed, citing its Community Guidelines.

Mickelwait is the CEO of the Justice Defense Fund and founded the #TraffickingHub campaign, which she describes as “a non-religious, non-partisan, decentralized effort to hold Pornhub … accountable for enabling and profiting from mass child sexual abuse, sex-trafficking, rape and image based abuse.”

“Instagram/Meta made the right decision by cutting ties with Pornhub,” Mickelwait said in a statement. “Meta now joins Visa, Mastercard, Discover, PayPal, Grant Thorton, Heinz, Unilever, Roku and many other companies in refusing to do business with Pornhub, a site infamous for monetizing the sex trafficking and criminal sexual abuse of countless victims including children.”

Mickelwait has called on Google search, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Reflected Network to also end their connections to PornHub.

“It is worth remembering that according to the U.S. Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act, it’s illegal to knowingly benefit from a sex trafficking venture,” she added. “Companies that continue to do so will be held accountable.”

Dawn Hawkins, the CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, also commended Instagram for hearing “the voices of sexual abuse survivors who have been personally harmed by Pornhub’s insatiable appetite for profit.”

“Instagram was right to remove Pornhub from its platform for violating its community standards given the increasing reports of Pornhub hosting child sexual abuse material, sex trafficking, filmed rape, and non-consensual videos and images,” said Hawkins in a blog post on the organization’s website. “Instagram served as a distribution partner with this criminal enterprise, helping to push millions to their website, including children.”

Hawkins noted that the account shared “sexually graphic content, directly promoted pornography, and featured videos like ‘Next Career Goal’ encouraging its audience to become a pornography performer.”

Instagram has not publicly commented on its decision.

A federal judge in California suspended payments for advertising on Pornhub made with a credit card from Visa or Mastercard. The companies had been accused in court of knowingly facilitating the distribution of child pornography on channels owned by MindGeek, Pornhub’s parent company.

Visa’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit was denied.

“It is Visa’s policy to follow the law of every country in which we do business. We do not make moral judgments on legal purchases made by consumers, and we respect the rightful role of lawmakers to make decisions about what is legal and what is not,” said Al Kelly, Visa’s CEO and Chairman, in an Aug. 4 statement. “Visa can be used only at MindGeek studio sites that feature adult professional actors in legal adult entertainment.”

MindGeek’s CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo resigned in July of 2022. The company did not offer a detailed explanation and said a search for the executives’ replacements was underway.

PornHub’s Twitter account remains active, with 3.4 million followers.

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