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Pornhub’s new trust and safety policies include biometric tech

Hi, my name is Werner Brandes. My ID is my passport… to porn. Verify me.

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Image: KnowTechie

After finally taking a hard stance against illegal content, after losing Visa and Mastercard as payment processors (then moving to crypto-only payments), Pornhub has now found a better way to verify its content uploaders and provide much-needed moderation. The hope is that these changes will satisfy the ongoing investigations by Visa and Mastercard, as losing those payment processors just harms the sex workers who use Pornhub to make a living.

Before all this hit the media wires late last year, Pornhub had already retained the services of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP to review its moderation procedures with the focus on preventing abusive content from making it to the site. That review is ongoing, but Pornhub already has a list of policy changes it will implement going forward. Most of these changes were outlined last year, but the statement released by Pornhub goes into a bit more detail on how some of these changes will work.

The biggest pain point for Pornhub is keeping abusive, illegal content from being uploaded in the first place

The best way to do that is through stricter rules around who can upload a video. Studio partners are easy to verify, even though some of those studios are skeezy as hell. The Model Program is where the changes will most likely be felt the most, as Pornhub has partnered with digital identy verification solution company Yoti to validate official documents. Uploading will still be limited to studio partners and models in the Model Program for now, leaving user-uploads in flux until this level of verification trickles down.

To verify, models will have to provide a current photo and a government issued ID. Yoti will use biometric technology to match the two. Yoti is also continuing its partnership with UK-based transgender charity Sparkle to make sure the identity-proving process is as inclusive as possible. This change will affect all MindGeek video platforms, which is basically every porn tube site on the internet save for a few.

Additional steps to protect its users and, well, its own ass, are being implemented as well

There will be no downloading past paid downloads from verified users in the Model Program who have provided express consent for that process to take place. This helps keep illegal content from returning to the site. There will be expanded moderation, utilizing a bunch of automated tools along with human moderation. Then there is Pornhub’s Trusted Flagger program, which empowers Pornhub’s 40 non-profit partners to flag content they find violates the terms of service.

As per the mental state of these human moderators, we know that such a job can mess with one’s head. Pornhub stated that “content moderators will also undergo further exhaustive training to identify potentially illegal
material and testing. If needed, content moderators have access to specialized support, including wellness benefits and therapeutic measures, to support them in their critical work.”

Pornhub will also be releasing a transparency report detailing all its content moderation issues from 2020, likely showing way less offensive, illegal, and shitty content than sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“Much like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other tech platforms, Pornhub seeks to be fully transparent about the content that should and should not appear on the platform,” Pornhub’s statement read. “This report will be the first of its kind among adult content platforms, setting the standard for transparency and accountability in the industry.”

Overall, these changes are good for Pornhub and the industry at large. The illegal content has to be eradicated on a platform like Pornhub, and sex workers must maintain the ability to get paid for their work. It starts with the platform providing a safe place for that to transpire, and it continues with payment processors not holding sex workers to blame, hurting their ability to get paid. There is a middle ground here, and Pornhub is working to find it.

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