Pornhub

Pornhub, the very NSFW adult site where users can upload their own porn, winds up inadvertently hosting a lot of the Internet's so-called 'revenge porn.' And if you're a victim of revenge porn, getting those videos taken down is often a major pain. But today Pornhub announced what it's calling an "preemptive strike" against involuntary porn: a newly streamlined process that makes it easier to request non-consensual pornography be taken down.

Pornhub is only the latest company to step up its efforts to crack down on revenge porn. Over the past year, Google announced it would at long last remove non-consensual nude images from search results and Reddit, Twitter and Facebook all announced a ban on revenge porn, too. More than 20 states now have laws on the books making revenge porn a crime and California Congresswoman Jackie Speier plans to introduce a federal law to ban revenge porn nationally.

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Pornhub, which has 60 million visitors a day, said last year in a Reddit AMA that it "very often" receives revenge porn take-down requests. Previously, requesting a video be removed required a victim to send an e-mail to the site. As of today, Pornhub now has a specific form (NSFW) that victims of revenge porn can fill out to request a video be taken down. Unlike other major porn websites, Pornhub won't require government ID to request a video to be taken down, allowing anyone to anonymously report a video. The company said this will make the process more efficient and effective.

"Being a revenge porn victim is embarrassing enough as it is. We would rather not make the reporting process equally awkward, or make people feel apprehensive about approaching us to begin with," Pornhub Vice President Corey Price told The Verge.

In a statement, Pornhub said it's "looking to end the cyber exploitation of innocent individuals."

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But allowing victims to more easily request non-consensual pornography be taken offline seems like a far cry from a "preemptive strike." By the time victims find out that their nude images are online, often they have spread far beyond the original source.

"Porn sites that do not take affirmative steps to verify that the material they feature is consensual, or promote nonconsensual porn fetishes (e.g. "ex-girlfriend," "voyeur," "hidden camera") are complicit in the creation of and demand for this material," Mary Anne Franks, a University of Miami law professor who has advocated for making revenge porn illegal, told me via e-mail.

A report issued this summer by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation called for not only a federal ban of revenge porn, but the creation of a special FBI unit that would help revenge porn victims and put pressure on tech companies to develop best practices for quickly removing law-violating content from their sites.

“Despite the seriousness of the problem, victims have inadequate means available to fight back,” the report said. “Most victims cannot easily stop the spread of the images or take action against the perpetrator. Indeed, many of these images remain online forever.”

Perhaps Pornhub could go one step further, reminding users that revenge porn is not allowed on the site every time they upload a video.

"What any responsible company should do if it cares about the scourge of 'revenge porn' is take steps to verify that sexually explicit material is consensual before it is made available to the public," Franks said. She suggested requiring users to check a box verifying consent from anyone featured in the video or showing a message reminding users that nonconsensual pornography is now a crime in many states

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In truth, though, the only thing that will probably stop revenge porn from making its way online is making it very, very illegal.