Adult content website XTube folding for good on September 5
A pornography website called XTube, owned by Pornhub's parent company MindGeek, is quietly shutting down permanently on September 5, 2021. MindGeek and XTube haven't provided any official reason as to why the website is shutting down, but besides other factors, it can be partly attributed to the lawsuits against the parent company for hosting illegal content. Here are more details.
The company was hush-hush about folding but it grabbed public attention when anti-trafficking and sexual abuse activist Laila Mickelwait tweeted about it. In its shutdown announcement, XTube said that after 13 years in business, fresh upload of photos and videos has been disabled. Similarly, purchasing XTube Credits and VIP or XTube premium subscriptions has also been disabled.
Until September 5, the website's visitors can continue purchasing content using existing credits. XTube Premium subscriptions will automatically be canceled on August 1. Uploaders will receive their payout for content sales, webcam streams, and tips by September 16, after applicable fees and deductions. XTube's announcement encouraged uploaders to shift to other MindGeek sites including Pornhub and MyDirtyHobby.
XTube has been in business since 2008 when it became the first pornography website that allowed users to upload their own content like YouTube. TheNextWeb reported that as documented in Jon Ronson's The Butterfly Effect, the current "tube-style" pornography market stemmed from the illegal distribution of copyrighted material. When the businesses distributing content started floundering, MindGeek scooped them up for cheap.
However, the bigger problem is the lives of innocent people that were destroyed by the abuse they suffered when their videos made their way to such porn websites. Although Pornhub did remove nearly 80% of its hosted content earlier this year that was uploaded by unverified entities, it wasn't due to the victimized people. Visa and Mastercard had blocked payments to Pornhub.
MindGeek and its subsidiaries are embroiled in a string of lawsuits, most of which allege that the websites host spy footage, rape, child sexual abuse, and revenge porn. The most recent suit was filed in June, with each of the 40 plaintiffs claiming $1 million each in damages. The complainants are victims of the sex trafficking operation Girls Do Porn, also a Pornhub channel.
XTube's silent demise should come as a huge relief for the victims in videos on the site, but TheNextWeb speculates that MindGeek is probably shutting the company down to avoid more lawsuits. Does it imply that some or all of XTube's content was illegal? What will XTube do with the hosted content after it folds? Only time will tell.