Earlier in the month an NYT article came out outlining child exploitation videos being uploaded to Pornhub. It’s a harrowing read, quite frankly. And it rattled the cage. Enough for Visa and mastercard to start making noises about whether or not they should continue their unspoken support of Mindgeek, the umbrella company that owns Pornhub.

In response Pornhub made their own announcements. Making broad changes across the board to the upload and download process. Unverified accounts could no longer upload content to the site. This is something people had been suggesting for a while, and it does more to curb pedos than anything else. In fact it’s more than Facebook has done after over 84 million reported instances of exploitation videos and pictures were flagged on it’s own site. It’s more than Facebook has done after over a decade of uploaded beheading videos. It’s more than Facebook has done after some fucking asshole livestreamed himself committing the worst crime my country has ever seen.

But payment gateways are cool with that, because Facebook’s bread and butter isn’t porn, and Pornhub’s changes were too little too late. Two days later Mastercard told Pornhub to go get wrecked, and turned off the tap.

I wasn’t aware of any of this, and the night before The Purge, I was trying to upload a clip I had recently animated for a client. I was unable to upload and Pornhub informed me that I needed to verify myself. That’s fine, whatever. I wrote on a piece of paper in RL “izzybsides on Pornhub.com” and followed all the guidelines I could see to not be rejected. I sent the photo, lolled at the fact I needed my real face to publish content I’m not even in, and went to bed.

Sometime while I slept Pornhub said “fuck it” and deleted more than half the content on it’s site. Every clip that belonged to unverified accounts. It went from hosting almost 14 million videos to just 4.7 million. Personally I need at least 6 million videos opened in separate tabs before I can come anywhere close to orgasm.

I logged in, and my videos are all flagged and locked. A notification was awaiting me “Your verification has failed.” reason “other”. Nice. I resubmit my verification photo after changing my gender on my profile, they get antsy if it doesn’t match with how you physically identify in your photo.

I went on Twitter and it’s bedlam, sort of. Models and amateurs I follow are fucked far less literally than usual. Their clips gone, their free advertising for their onlyfans nullified. I’m miffed, but I’m fine at the end of the day. I never had a big enough presence for it to truly hurt me ya know? My revenue streams come from commissions from people finding me via twitter and furaffinity and streaming on picarto.

I tweet about it a little bit and a day or two goes by. Someone from Vice slides into my DMs. It’s actually the same chick who wrote the initial breaking articles about Pornhub going nuts. She was writing a new story specifically about amateur/fetish creators and animators, so I guess I fell right into that demographic. I did most of the talking, she didn’t need to say much at all, and I’ve been on the other end of the interview thing so I knew what sort of soundbites she might be looking for.

She seemed most interested in finding an angle about how we got no warning our videos would be locked, and that we had no way to download our own content. All I could do here was confirm that yes indeed there seemed to be no option to collect our own data like you might with something like googles products. Personally, I don’t see this as a huge deal. If you’re an animator, and your only copy of a video is on Pornhub, what the actual fuck are you up to?

I checked my emails while I gave her what I knew and I found another email that seemed to relate to my second verification submission.

It said “you must have an avatar, video or photo of yourself that is identifiable uploaded to your profile. This is necessary to verify your likeness in comparison with the verification photo.”

First of all, for anyone who’s face IS in a video or photo on their account, they’re all fucking gone now aren’t they. Second of all, I don’t know many animators who use their actual fucking face in their animations of Spinel fucking Steven Universe so this is going to be a bit of an issue.

The Vice writer seemed a little surprised about this but she went back to the downloading thing. She had her angle figured out. Personally I think that this is a bigger issue than having the ability to download your revenge porn.

I guess I could bite the bullet and put my actual face on some stuff but I dunno man. It kind of feels like this new system kinda forgets that there are content creators who have legitimate reasons for not appearing in their works.

Honestly, I can’t be bothered investigating more ways of trying to get back on. I ain’t got time to figure out which hoops to jump through.

So what do I think of all this? Honestly changes needed to happen on Pornhub for a while, and no big business is going to do shit about fuck until the one thing they really care about is endangered. Pornhub would have happily trundled on with the status quoe if that NYT article didn’t come out. Now, should Mastercard have pulled funding after Pornhub did make their changes? Probably not? It’s gonna hurt a lot of creators that DO use it as an advertising and money making avenue. Advertising your onlyfans is a tough gig and there aren’t that many places to do it.

At the end of the day, I’m not going to go to bat for a mega-corporation. I ain’t no simp. On the other hand, it makes me worry about Porn’s place on the internet. It’s always been in a precarious situation. I was part of the tumblr exodus, and I’m kind of part of this pornhub refugee crisis as well. We’re watching the tectonic plates of the internet shift, and it just so happens that our industry sits on the fault line.

The wild west is getting settled, and it’s original inhabitants are getting run off the land.