Researchers, ECP Release 1st 'Pornhub Creator Consultations Report'

Researchers, ECP Release 1st 'Pornhub Creator Consultations Report'

MONTREAL — Internet and sex work researchers Maggie MacDonald and Val Webber have released their first “Pornhub Creator Consultations Report,” probing issues such as banking access for sex workers, different types of platform discrimination, and advocacy.

The report draws upon a series of consultations held earlier this year with Pornhub creators, and has been issued as part of Ethical Capital Partners’ (ECP) “What We Heard” project, an initiative to gather community input following the group's March acquisition of the company formerly known as MindGeek.

MacDonald and Webber, academics at Canadian universities who also serve on the Aylo advisory board set up by ECP, “engaged participants around themes of financial discrimination, surveillance, race and gender, algorithmic curation, metadata categorization, industry advocacy and much more,” the statement accompanying the report explains.

The surveyed creators, the statement notes, “shared a wide range of informed perspectives both regarding their work on Pornhub and on industry issues beyond the platform. Their insights are summarized as a resource to better understand contemporary issues facing the workers relying on porn platforms.”

Sections include: Getting Paid & Banking Discrimination, Surveillance & Deplatforming, Verification & Tagging Co-Performers, Porn & Race, Trans Issues, Pornhub Pride, Performer Health & Onboarding New Creators, Transparency & Communication and Advocacy.

The creators, the survey report concludes, “called for improved communication with and on the platform, and made suggestions to leverage Pornhub’s existing resources in order to better advocate for all creators.”

MacDonald told XBIZ that technologies, production techniques, new platforms, trends and controversies “develop lighting-fast in the porn world.”

“Because of that, it was really important to Val and I that any advisory projects we took on respond to current concerns,” she added. “Before, Pornhub wasn't really listening to porn workers, but new management could easily recreate that problem by making frustrating, irrelevant or inefficient changes. We wanted to ensure ECP wasn't just recreating old problems. We came into this project keenly aware that lots of people in the porn world are — rightfully — very wary of Pornhub. This company has a long history of ignoring performers and not engaging with relevant political issues that impact our industry. That being said, if ECP had immediately rolled out a series of big 'Look at all the good stuff we're doing' announcements without making things tangibly better for creators, porn industry people would have seen right through that. It would have been tokenizing. It was really heartening to find them enthusiastic about the suggestion that we need more data centered on creator interests if they plan to make meaningful change.”

Earlier this year, MacDonald also released an educational YouTube video, “Porn, Platforms & Sex Panic,” explaining how content creation, algorithms, media amplification and “panicky policy” have shaped the current adult content landscape.

Praise for Authors From ECP's VP of Compliance

Solomon Friedman, partner and VP of Compliance at Ethical Capital Partners (ECP), praised the authors earlier this year.

“Dr. Val Webber is a leading academic in the space of performer health and safety,” Friedman told XBIZ shortly after the MindGeek purchase was announced. “Their involvement with PASS is well known. They are an advocate for the rights of sex workers, for putting their interests paramount in the discussion about adult platforms. We are delighted to have the benefit of their advice.”

Friedman called the University of Toronto’s MacDonald “an extraordinary academic,” adding that while performing his pre-purchase review and due diligence on Pornhub, he discovered and was highly impressed by her writing  about the platform.

“Maggie McDonald wrote her master’s thesis on Pornhub and she engages with it openly,” Friedman said. “She has critiques, she centers it in terms of the evolving ecosystem of online platforms, and she is presently completing her Ph.D. thesis on the very same platform. And I thought to myself, ‘Who could possibly be better to inform and advise us, to give us independent advice, to make us aware of challenges that we simply do not know about because our life experience, our research, is very different?’ These voices need to be centered.”

To read the Pornhub Creator Consultations Report survey, visit MacDonald’s website.

Pornhub Creator Consultations Report (Nov. 2023)

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