Pornhub fans flock to lend a hand in its fight against ban in Russia

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Last week, Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor pissed off thousands of local porn lovers when it blocked the entire country from accessing two of the world’s biggest adult websites, Pornhub and YouPorn.

Rooted in two separate court rulings, the state-owned agency blacklisted the porn sites for violating Russian laws on counts of “spreading pornography” and the “illegal production, dissemination, and advertising of pornographic materials and objects.”

This isn’t the first time adult websites have had run-ins with Russian authorities. Back in September 2015, Roskomnadzor shut down Pornhub along with 10 other portals, including industry titan xHamster.

When Russia’s porn defenders took it to social media to voice their frustrations with last year’s bans, the media watchdog responded in cold blood, advising them to go “meet someone in real life” instead.

Following a massive outcry on social media after last week’s blocks, Roskomnadzor showed identical disregard for the public’s discontentment, tweeting vexed users that their advice from last year – to meet people in real life, that is – “still stands.”

Meanwhile, Pornhub didn’t stay idle.

It promptly set up a mirror where Russian users could still access the website and actively engaged in the public dispute, deluging Roskomnadzor with a barrage of witty remarks on Twitter.

But Pornhub didn’t stop there. Instead, it led the battle on all fronts.

While its community coordinator Pornhub_Katie took it to Reddit to spread the word and inform international users about the ban, the website also re-activated its VKontakte page (also known as the Russian Facebook) to better mobilize its supporters in Russia.

In addition to poking fun at Roskomnadzor and President Putin, Pornhub also took the opportunity to ask VKontakte users whether the adult site should be unblocked, to which over 65 percent of all voters have so far responded with ‘obviously’. In comparison, less than 20 percent believe the service should remain unavailable.

Pornhub's poll on VKontakte (Google-translated).
Pornhub’s poll on VKontakte (Google-translated).

Undeterred by the social media backlash, Roskomnadzor landed another blow to Pornhub when the agency blocked the still active Pornhub.ru mirror the past Monday, conclusively cutting all access to the site across the country.

But by that time, Roskomnadzor had already lost the battle.

With the exception of a couple of local pornstars, Russia’s porn-deprived netizens had grown increasingly sympathetic to Pornhub’s cause, persistently showing support and sharing their most coveted porn memories on social media.

When Roskomnadzor locked down Pornhub’s last functional mirror, it was the people that stepped in and stood up for Pornhub.

Numerous netizens protested the ban on Facebook by recording themselves watching porn on cam and sharing the video with the hashtag #rospornobzor (translating ‘porn recap’).

BuzzFeed isn’t entirely wrong when it jokingly speculated you’ll be telling your children about the Pornhub-Russia squabble.

Win or lose, Pornhub just gave Roskomnadzor and the entire world a master-class in social media warfare – because as long as people keep talking, Pornhub will never die.

Meanwhile, the porn giant is planning to appeal Roskomnadzor’s block in court. Keep fighting, Pornhub – we love you!

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