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PornHub: $800m class-action lawsuit brought against MindGeek

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A woman confronted with shocking footage of her child sex abuse on the website PornHub is leading a class-action lawsuit against its parent company. A class-action case being brought against MindGeek, the parent company of pornography website PornHub, is being led by a woman who claims footage of her sexual abuse as a child was uploaded to the site.

Referred to in the $US600 million ($A800 million) lawsuit only as Jane Doe, the woman was sexually abused by a family member for years. When he died, she thought she could finally move on from that horrific part of her life.

But then a former high school friend messaged her on social media. “It was in my ‘message requests’, so I didn’t see it right away,” Jane Doe told Canadian news outlet CityNews. “When I opened it, I froze.” The friend thought he had recognized her in a video on PornHub and was sending her the link to check.

At the time the footage was taken, she was just 12 years old. “I feel like it had to have been so incredibly obvious to anybody watching it that this was a child, and I thought that if this ever existed on the internet that, you know, it’s on the dark web where people are intentionally going to look for this and it’s not for public consumption,” Jane Doe said.

“I could tell just based on the image … what occurred in the video,” she said. “There were links to others. And I was able to locate more videos by going through the comments section, clicking them, and seeing that through still images. But this was still me around the same age and different events,” she said. “It just took my breath away.”

Based in Montreal, PornHub is one of the most prominent pornography outlets in the world. However, it has recently been at the center of various legal investigations, with this class-action suit being the latest.

The action was initially filed in a Quebec court in December 2020. The company is being sued for $US600 million ($A800 million) over the hosting of Jane Doe’s footage plus other content that allegedly includes sexual abuse and child sex abuse.

The lawsuit alleges that up until recently, MindGeek had no policies or procedures to investigate several aspects of their videos. MindGeek said in February this year it would be contesting the suit but has otherwise declined to comment on the case.

In February, MindGeek’s senior leadership testified at parliamentary hearings saying they had introduced new age verification processes, had human moderators watch every video, and increased user reporting features for faster removal of inappropriate content.

At the time she discovered it, Jane Doe requested her videos be removed from the PornHub site. She said she received a generic response about five days after making her request, but she is still unsure if it has been removed.

“But even if PornHub takes it down, it’ll just resurface somewhere else because there are those download features available. It’s always going to be there,” she said.

“It sucks to think that it doesn’t matter how old I am, that my sexual abuse as a child is immortalized in videos and not just on somebody’s private computer, but on the internet, and it’s never going to go away.” The company has said the download function has also been removed for most of its content, apart from paid content.

Last week, MindGeek settled over another lawsuit brought by 50 women who alleged that porn provider GirlsDoPorn had lied about how sexually explicit videos of them would be used, Business Insider reported.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit were proven or tested in court. No details of the settlement were released. In a statement, the company said: “MindGeek has zero tolerance for the posting of illegal content on its platforms and has instituted a comprehensive, industry-leading trust and safety policy to identify and eradicate any unlawful material from its community.

“We are committed to remaining at the forefront of internet safety and taking every measure to prevent bad actors from posting illegal content online.”

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About author
Tristan McCue is a 26-year-old junior programmer who enjoys reading, binge-watching boxed sets, and appearing in the background on TV. He is smart and friendly, but can also be very evil and a bit lazy.He is an Australian Christian. He has a post-graduate degree in computing.
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