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This article was published on July 6, 2021

Porn site XTube is shutting down on September 5

The beginning of the end for illegal pornography

Porn site XTube is shutting down on September 5
Callum Booth
Story by

Callum Booth

Editor of Plugged by TNW

Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He w Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He writes about gear, gadgets, and apps — with a particular focus on Apple — and also makes the occasional odd video. Basically, he's halfway between an abrasive gadget nerd and thinky art boy.

XTube, a pornography site, owned by MindGeek, will shut down permanently on September 5.

At the time of publishing, there is no definitive statement on why XTube, part of the Pornhub Network, is closing. But the clues are there.

MindGeek has controversially become the largest pornography business in the world. It both owns adult video platforms — such as Pornhub, RedTube, and YouPorn — and production companies, like Brazzers Digital Playground, and Reality Kings.

Over the past several years, MindGeek has been embroiled in a series of lawsuits. A large number of these concentrate on the fact that MindGeek‘s sites host illegal content. This includes, but is not limited to, rape, child sexual abuse, and revenge porn.

The most recent case is from June this year —but lawsuits in this vein are far from a new trend.

It’s impossible to look at the closure of XTube without coming to the conclusion that this sort of potential legal action is why the pornography site is shuttering.

What’s particularly interesting is how quiet XTube is being about this. We were first alerted to the news via this tweet from anti-trafficking and sexual abuse activist, Laila Mickelwait:


Notice there is no explanation as to why XTube is shutting down in that statement. I also searched across XTube‘s site and there is currently no announcement on its blog page. Its Twitter is also strangely silent on the matter.

Instead, all the closure information is tucked away on XTube’s FAQ page:

XTube closure FAQ page
Again, no clear explanation on exactly why XTube is closing.

The most logical rationale for the end of XTube is MindGeek is aware that it’s hosting illegal content and would rather quietly close it, rather than suffer another lawsuit.

Eventually, we heard back from MindGeek, who provided this statement:

“Like any tech company, we are constantly evaluating our content offerings and products to best serve our users. XTube has always had a dedicated but small community, and we believe that its users and creators will be better served on one of our existing platforms, where they will be able to take advantage of wider reach and increased visibility.”

According to this quote, legal issues have nothing to do with the closure of XTube. But let’s be honest: would MindGeek say if they did?

XTube and the modern state of online pornography

XTube was founded in 2006 and was one of the first porn sites that allowed users to upload their own videos. In other words, there’s bound to be a raft of illegal content sitting on the site.

The world of online pornography needs regulation, and more measures to protect vulnerable people from abuse. The closure of XTube is a sign things are moving in the right direction.

As documented in Jon Ronson’s The Butterfly Effect, the current “tube” style of porn got its start from illegally sharing copyrighted material. When the businesses it took content from started to struggle, MindGeek then purchased them at severely reduced prices.

This all led to the consolidated online porn market we see today.

Even worse than this though are the women (because it’s mainly women) who have suffered abuse and had their lives ruined when videos of them are uploaded illegally on adult tube sites.

Steps have been taken against this, for example, Pornhub removed all unverified content after Visa and Mastercard blocked payments to the platform — but this isn’t enough.

Pornography sites must be responsible for the content they host. And hopefully the shuttering of XTube is another step towards making this a reality.

(Edit, July 7: We incorporated the quote from MindGeek about the closure of XTube)

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