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How to fix the porn industry

Adult sites host abusive and illegal content. It’s time to start making them responsible for it

By Jessica Abrahams   March 2021

Illegal content on some sites abounds, but platforms have very limited liability for user-uploaded content. Illustration: Ian Morris

Few industries are more controversial, and for some the only real fix would be shutting this one down. But it’s booming, so it is worth tackling the most egregious faults that everyone should agree on as problems.

In December, the New York Times accused Pornhub—one of the biggest adult sites in the world, attracting billions of clicks each month—of hosting recordings of child abuse and rape. Pornhub denied this, insisting it has robust processes in place to remove illegal content, but nonetheless soon removed most of its videos.

Platforms like this work a bit like YouTube: anyone can upload content,…

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