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Pornhub.com has made some major changes implemented over the past couple of years. Will sex workers end up working for free? What's changed?

Pornhub com changed the rules: Will sex worker’s almost be working for free?

Pornhub has made some major changes implemented over the past couple of years. Some were spurred by the accusation that the site is a haven for non-consensual material of the vilest kind.

 The most recent of the changes made to Pornhub’s services is not one initiated by themselves. Visa & Mastercard have ended their relationship with Pornhub.com. They will no longer be a method of payment on the site. Some people worry this will edge sex workers closer to having to work for nearly free. 

Alana Evans, president of the adult performer union APAG, was incensed by Visa and Mastercard’s decision to cut ties with the site. She says the decision is “not keeping kids safe. This doesn’t stop kids from being molested, or stop people from shooting the content of people being raped and abused.” 

For a union that declares one of its goals to be “helping to set up proper pay and benefits structures so that every [adult] performer has access to health insurance” it’s understandable that people in the union would see this as a setback for people in the adult industry. The changes recently made to Pornhub will certainly not help sex workers move towards stable or proper pay. 

Some think Pornhub.com slides workers towards close to free work

Last year Pornhub made some major changes to long-standing policies. They restrict users from downloading content outside of paid downloads and no longer allow unidentified users to upload content. These changes were aimed at preventing non-consensual and underage porn from circulating on the site. 

Pornhub has been known to float these kinds of videos around. Although the sire purports to have cracked down on such activity on multiple occasions, plenty of that type of content still surfaces. Admittedly, it can be hard to regulate that type of thing when the people who consume it aren’t exactly keen on getting their source cut off. Massive monitoring efforts would have to be made. 

The step of limiting downloads in uploads was supposed to be a positive step in that direction. Some sex workers lament that the more they crack down on things the more they unintentionally negatively affected. 

While almost everyone agrees child and rape (not rape fantasy) porn should not be allowed to be circulated, some people are worried about how it will affect them financially. Especially in a time where the pandemic has cut many people off from their original sources of income. Sex workers don’t want to end up having to work for free because of heavy-handed regulations. 

Is there a trend towards ceasing business with pornhub?

Porn hub has not made it so that adult performers will have to work for free, but new policies do affect their ability to be involved in certain programs like the Model Program. When companies like Visa & Mastercard pull their hat out of the ring, it only exacerbates the damage to sex workers’ incomes. 

It’s not the first time Pornhub.com has had partners back away from business with them either. It happened previously with Paypal, Unilever, and Kraft have also ceased business with Pornhub.com. Porhub stated they were “devastated by PayPal’s decision to stop payouts to over a hundred thousand performers who rely on them for their livelihoods.”

A PayPal spokesperson told Motherboard: “Following a review, we have discovered that Pornhub has made certain business payments through PayPal without seeking our permission. We have taken action to stop these transactions from occurring.” They cited this as the reason for the severance of their business relationship.

 Paypal’s acceptable use policy includes the right to cease service to people who use their system for “certain sexually oriented materials or services. ” So it’s hard to really be sure lack of permission was the reason for their withdrawal. 

Consequences 

Sex workers who previously made most or all of their income on Pornhub may turn to street-based sex work, putting them in more dangerous situations. It’s arguable that when organizations, people, or companies engage in “the war on porn” by doing things like severing ties with a large platform like Pornhub, they don’t consider the rebounding repercussions. 

People whose avenues for online sex work on a major platform get cut off will likely just search for a new way to perform their work. The question remains whether preventing the easy distribution of criminal materials such as child porn is worth negatively affecting a segment of the population’s line of work. 

People continue to argue that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have plenty of unseemly material of the same type uploaded to their sites every day. They must work to chase down illegal material too. The targeting of sites like Pornhub is carried out because of their obvious correlation with such material but the numbers don’t always justify the skewed aim. 

It’s possible the question isn’t whether or not porn sites should be targeted for crimes like these but how such crimes can be censored and prevented as a whole. If you believe in the right of the sex worker to practice their trade some safeguards for their line of work should be put in place. 

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