Pornhub’s Video Purge Had Nothing to Do With the Google Outage

Conspiracy theories have emerged blaming Google's service outage on Pornhub removing millions of videos.
December 14, 2020, 7:21pm
On Monday, after Pornhub removed all uploaded videos that weren't added to its website by verified content partners and members of its Model Program, theories began to emerge that the purge had caused a Google service outage.  The outage occurred on early
Gabe Ginsberg / Contributor

On Monday, after Pornhub removed all uploaded videos that weren't added to its website by verified content partners and members of its Model Program, theories began to emerge that the purge had caused a Google service outage.

The outage occurred on early Monday morning and took down several Google services including YouTube, Gmail, and Google Docs.

“Today, at 3.47AM PT Google experienced an authentication system outage for approximately 45 minutes due to an internal storage quota issue,” a Google spokesperson told Motherboard in a statement. “Services requiring users to log in experienced high error rates during this period. The authentication system issue was resolved at 4:32AM PT. All services are now restored. We apologise to everyone affected, and we will conduct a thorough follow up review to ensure this problem cannot recur in the future.”

To be clear, Pornhub’s purge had nothing to do with Google’s service outage. Pornhub's move to suspend all unverified uploads comes days after Mastercard and Visa terminated service to Pornhub. Both of these developments, which only further jeopardize sex workers and their livelihoods, came after a New York Times column that called for payment processors to terminate their service with Pornhub. Motherboard has reported deeply on Pornhub’s issues, and other outlets as well. As Melissa Gria Grant points out in The New Republic, however, campaigns by anti-trafficking groups who oppose decriminalizing sex worker have been piorizted over organizing by sex workers which has long exposed Pornhub’s repeated failure to moderate its content and remove stolen and non-consensual porn.

The decision here is the latest in a long series of choices to prioritize the platform’s profits and insulate it from regulatory and legal scrutiny, all while leaving performers and sex workers to fend for themselves.

Pornhub declined to comment.