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Why is Mastercard and The New York Times Pretending that Nobody Knows About Rape and Child Pornography on Pornhub?

The internet story leaps decades at a time before major publications decide to write about them. Then they stop to wonder why their audience is shrinking because their journalism is terrible.

Nicholas Kristof calls it “The Children of Pornhub” as if it is some sort of revelation that the internet porn giants make money off the exploitation, trafficking, and assault of the men and women and boys and girls on the platforms.

Topping it off, Mastercard is only just coming to the realization that this level of exploitation is a bad thing and they cannot transact any longer on this platform. A revelation that was not obvious to them before but is somehow dawned on them now that Nicholas Kristof has revealed a small portion of the internet that isn’t erased from the databases with a click of a button yet.

Pulling up rape stories and documenting that Pornhub will do nothing to stop its misery-profiteering scheme doesn’t prove a point. It means you lagged at your job so many fucking years ago. Pornhub isn’t new. The internet isn’t fucking new. As soon as the world figured out that you could put adverts on a webpage after the dot-com bubble, the architects rushed forward to usher in that change.

Zuckerberg is really struggling with this tension. He’s the victim here, guys.

Kristof’s piece is as ridiculous as Mark Zuckerberg realizing in October of 2020 that Holocaust denial is a bad thing. It’s an aim at 5% of the problem that is already decades too late because the misery has been dealt and the profits have been reaped. Nobody in their right mind believes that Zuckerberg truthfully came to the conclusion that Holocaust denial was bad in 2020. And everyone, myself included, is wondering about why the Azerbaijani troll farms weren’t dealt with until a whistleblower finally revealed to the world that it fucking existed. My indigenous, Armenian people were brutally murdered, ears cut off, beheaded in the lands of Artsakh because Azerbaijan is allowed to confiscate its people's rights from the internet and then funnel only information it wants for its people to know and see. In the real world, we call that propaganda; in Zuckerberg’s world, it’s 2% of the profits on a Monday morning in a bad quarter.

Fuck Zuckerberg for not realizing that the Armenian genocide — or any other genocide, should be included in that list. Fuck him for not realizing it should have been included when Facebook was incepted. Fuck Kristoff for profiting off an editorial piece that is so far so late in its creation. Fuck Mastercard for all those years of accepting payments and only now throwing their partner under the bus because it solely benefits them. People can’t tolerate this level of journalism because it has turned into this twisted joke.

The world is sick — severely sick. From the people who decide when it’s opportunistic to post a profit and then distance themselves from the problems that they create to the people who want to make money off of those problems years down the line without forming a complete solution to the issues at hand.

Pornhub knows how it’s making money. There is in no way shape or form a realizable event in Pornhub’s history that doesn’t involve the executives understanding how much money they can make off of the exploitation market. They understand their rights are protected. They understand that they can distance themselves the moment fingers are pointed at them. The internet is a big place, they are going to want to use any excuse they possibly can. They know they’re profiting off of people’s sickness — whether that is in those who do the act or those who come to the platform to watch the act that was documented. Pornhub is just a middle-man supplying that disgusting demand. It’s not an accident that those filters even exist on Pornhub, they fucking created them.

Pornhub and Uber.

It’s as easy as understanding Uber’s business model: We’re an app, we don’t have employees. When someone who drives using our app rapes a passenger, it’s not Uber’s responsibility.

Why do you think that making contractors employees is a terrible choice for their business plan? Why do you think models like Uber’s and Lyft’s now want to provide all the things that an employee would have without the status of an employee? They don’t want the liability. They don’t want that blood on their hands. They don’t want to accept the responsibility of the very people they hire to make them their money. They want that teflon. If one of Amazon’s third-party sellers has sold about a million dollars of fake product, Amazon will deflect blame onto the third-party seller even though their entire business model is thematically centered on customer service.

It’s the same thing for Pornhub. These venues, whether it’s Amazon, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pornhub, wherever, they like the distance and the protection they get from being able to distinguish the evil-doers who use their products and engage with their platform from the people who build the product for the evil-doers to use.

If the ad revenue wasn’t there, the moderation wouldn’t be an issue. That’s mostly because these platforms wouldn’t exist or they would exist solely on donations. Asking for more moderation is a fucking stupid point to make because the rules are already there and they haven’t been followed since the birth of any of these platforms. That isn’t an accident.

In the last twenty years since the dot-com crash, humankind’s biggest revelation in technological development has been the advent of putting adverts on a webpage. If you had told anybody that the future of 2020 would involve that level of idiocy, they’d be stunned. Yet, here we are.

Instead of talking about how or why that exploitation forms at its source, we’re talking about idiotic things like Kristoff’s measure to “ban downloads” off of Pornhub. As if people never understood what a web scraper is, or as if there aren’t thousands of them that exist over a Google search.

Any one of these platforms should be tried as if they are personally responsible for uploading those videos onto their site. If there are 10 million sexual photos of children on Facebook, then Mark Zuckerberg and his trove of executives should be standing trial as if they are the ones responsible for those uploads.

According to the BBC, it took a girl who was gang-raped when she was 14 years old, at knife-point, over a year to get the video removed off of Pornhub. She had to fucking impersonate a lawyer to get it to happen.

None of these companies “should be doing better”. This isn’t a societal intervention where we are acknowledging problems that need to be improved. We fucking created these problems. The creators of these platforms created these problems. They are artificially made — by them. They’re not events in a vacuum. If you want a platform that makes money off of the eyeballs of your users, it’s not an opinion of being better or not. You’re either completely clean, or you’re going to fucking prison.

Anything else is a fucking joke, like Zuckerberg or Kristoff or the New York Times or anybody else thinking there is some middle-ground for sexual exploitation of children. There is no connection between irreparably screwing society and its victims and freedom of expression. Stop scavenging for protections and start treating the platform creators like the monsters they are.

UC Berkeley, mathematics. Los Angeles. Long-time runner. Top writer on Quora, 100M+ total content views. New to Medium. Inquiries: Moumj@berkeley.edu

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