Two top managers of PornHub left their posts amid a scandalous article about moderation on the site

CEO Feras Antun and COO David Tassillo of Internet company MindGeek, which owns the world’s largest porn site Pornhub, both resigned shortly after the publication of the magazine’s controversial investigation. The New Yorker. Wherein top managers will remain shareholders of MindGeek, writes Variety citing pcompany representative.

MindGeek is a Canadian IT company that mainly distributes pornographic materials. In addition to Pornhub, the company also owns resources such as Brazzers, RedTube and YouPorn.

The material The New Yorker talks about years of publications on the site of videos of a sexual nature with the participation of minors and people who did not give consent to filming. At the same time, resource administrators were in no hurry to remove such content, although this is contrary to the policy of the site.

In addition, according to company representatives, if users file a complaint about a video, public access to it is disabled until it is reviewed. In 2020, the site even began requiring government-issued ID from users uploading media content.

However, The New Yorker interviewed several women who found videos and photos of themselves on Pornhub that they did not consent to posting, and who had to struggle for months to force the site to remove these materials.

Despite the fact that the dismissal of a senior MindGeek management coincided with the release of a critical article by The New Yorker, a company representative said that their departure was planned from the beginning of 2022. Replacement directors have not yet been found – at the time of the search, they will be distributed among members of the management team.

Problems with moderation on PornHub

This is not the first time a company has been accused of improperly moderating content on its website. In 2020, 40 women in the US accused PornHub in collaboration with Girls Do Porn, whose owners were arrested in the fall of 2019 on suspicion of forced sexual exploitation, fraud and coercion. The lawsuit also accused MindGeek of failing to control the circulation of media materials on the company’s websites.

The plaintiffs demanded in court to compensate them for damages in the amount of more than $40 million, to pay the money that the company earned by posting and promoting videos with their participation, and also to compensate them for legal costs.

In the same year, The New York Times published an article that talked about the prevalence of videos with minors on PornHub and the difficulties that the victims had to face in order to force the site’s moderators to remove the video.

December 2020 Pornhubas part of the fight against such content, began delete all videos uploaded to the site by unverified users. Then millions of videos disappeared from the resource. The company was pushed to this decision by the departure from the platform of the two largest payment systems Mastercard and Visa.

Early 2022 The Verge released materialin which a former PornHub moderator talked about his experience of deleting videos that then popped up again and again.

“One day a woman sent me an email in which she calmly explained that her ex-boyfriend had uploaded a video of them having sex and asked me to remove it. I deleted. The video was re-uploaded later that week. The woman wrote again and I deleted it again. And so it went on for months: I must have played the same video dozens of times. That was before I even heard the term “revenge porn,” explained the former site employee.

Industry Titan

MindGeek is registered in Luxembourg but is headquartered in Montreal. The company employs about 1,600 people, and its online platforms, including Pornhub, RedTube, YouPorn and Brazzers, in 2020, according to a company representative, were visited by approximately 4.5 billion people a month – almost twice as many as Google and Facebook combined.

In 2013, when MindGeek (at that time Manwin) opened an office in Dublin, a spokeswoman for the IT giant said that the company was one of the five largest traffic consumers in the world.

The owners and investors of MindGeek do not advertise their identities, however, in its material, NewYorker quoted anti-trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation activist Layla Mickelveit, who, referring to a former employee of the company, said that top leaders are CEO Feras Antoun, COO David Tassillo and Vice President of the company who led Pornhub Corey Urman.

The story of PornHub itself began in 2007, when entrepreneur Matt Kizer bought the domain for about $3,000 after a cold call to its owner. Kizer teamed up with several business partners, including Stefan Manos and Ouissam Youssef, whom he met during his college days at table football tournaments.

Initially, the company they created was called Mansef (a derivative of the names Manos and Youssef, then it was renamed Manwin, and in October 2013 the company rebranded again and changed its name to MindGeek.

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