Fact Check: Pornhub Did NOT Stop Service To Russia

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Pornhub Did NOT Stop Service To Russia No Block

Did Pornhub block users in Russia with a Ukrainian flag and a message supportive of Ukraine? No, that's not true: This claim is a joke or a prank. At the time of writing, the Canadian-owned pornography website pornhub.com has not canceled service to users in Russia.

This claim originated with a February 25, 2022, tweet from @root_nomad. Screenshots of the tweet were posted on other platforms. One example was posted on Facebook by the page Millennials for Guillotines on February 25, 2022, with the caption, "Imagine if porn sites shut down in America every time we bombed someone." The text in the screenshot reads:

HACKbyNIGHT

@root_nomad

The sanction nobody is talking about. Russian users who attempted to visit pornhub were quite literally cockblocked by a message that told them that the content has been stopped along with a Ukranian flag and message of Ukranian support
#Ukraine #UkraineRussia #UkraineInvasion

Porn hub

This is how the post appeared at the time of writing:

pornhub02.JPG

(Image source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Mar 01 23:01:04 2022 UTC)

This is not true. To test if Pornhub was blocking service to people in Russia, Lead Stories used a virtual private network (VPN) connected to Saint Petersburg, Russia, to try to access the site. There was not a denial of service notice. Rather, the site requires users to log in through an account with the Russian social media platform VKontakte (VK) to verify that they are 18. This message begins:

TO CONFIRM THAT YOU ARE OVER 18- PLEASE LOG IN VIA VK
This site is intended strictly for persons 18 years and older. If you are under 18 please leave this site, This site contains images, video, audio, text for adults involved acts of a sexual nature, if accessing and viewing adult content is not legal for you, please leave the site right now.

PornhubVPN.jpg

(Image source: Lead Stories composite image of VPN experiment screenshots taken on Tue Mar 01 23:40:33 2022 UTC)

Lead Stories did not have a VK account to take this further and ended the VPN experiment at this point. Snopes was able to log in with a VK account and navigate to the Pornhub homepage. This question of whether Pornhub was blocked was also posed on the subreddit r/AskARussian: Those responding from Russia said the site is not blocked.

Pornhub has been blocked in Russia in the past, in 2015 and again on September 13, 2016. After the state media watchdog Roskomnadzor blocked access to the free website, Pornhub responded by offering two weeks of free premium access, which soon crashed the site.

Lead Stories reached out to Pornhub for comment but has not received a reply.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


 

Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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