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A Tortoise File

#PornPlanet

Online pornography is watched by billions of people. But how much do we actually know about the porn industry – and the protections in place to prevent abuse?

First published
Friday 21 May 2021

Last updated
Monday 19 July 2021

Why this story?

In May we published our first investigation into the online porn industry – Hunt for the Porn King. Pornhub, the world’s tenth most popular website was accused by the New York Times in December of hosting abusive content and monetising videos of rape. Pornhub rushed to remove millions of hours of content overnight, but what was missing was someone to hold accountable. Earlier this year, our investigation uncovered the majority owner behind Pornhub’s parent company Mindgeek: Bernd Bergmair, a secretive investor who has managed to stay in the shadows.

But we knew it was only the start of the story. Mindgeek was just one company operating in a complex and troubling porn ecosystem; it was just one piece of the puzzle. In the second episode of our #PornPlanet series, we’re investigating porn producers. Thanks to the internet, anyone with a camera can make and sell porn. But the industry operates with little regulation or protection for those involved. And for some people like Stephano, whose story we tell in our latest investigation, that lack of protection has had devastating consequences. Alexi Mostrous, Editor

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