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    Pornhub owner MindGeek sold to private equity firm

    MindGeek — owner of several adult entertainment sites including Pornhub, Brazzerz and Redtube — was acquired by a Canadian private equity firm, Ethical Capital Partners (ECP).

    ECP, which was formed last year, did not disclose the terms of the deal.

    “In MindGeek, we have identified a dynamic tech brand that is built upon a foundation of trust, safety and compliance, and with ECP’s resources and broad expertise spanning regulatory, law enforcement, public engagement and finance, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen what already exists,” said ECP founding partner Fady Mansour in a statement.

    The acquisition follows a rocky few years for the porn giant. MindGeek’s CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo both departed from the company in June 2022. MindGeek also is currently in the midst of multiple lawsuits that allege it has knowingly profited off of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). As of December 2020, the platform removed all non-verified content and now requires anyone who appears in a user-uploaded video to verify their identity. Platforms like OnlyFans uphold similar policies as a way of cracking down nonconsensual content.

    In its announcement, ECP refers to MindGeek as “the internet leader in fighting illegal online content.” The private equity firm lists several policies in MindGeek’s trust and safety program, including its moderation practices, which require human moderators to manually review all uploads.

    MindGeek, and the online porn industry at large, faces significant risk from U.S. legislation like SESTA/FOSTA. The legislation carves out an exception to Section 230 that holds online platforms liable for facilitating prostitution and trafficking, so credit card processors have become skittish about running afoul of the law. Now, payment and credit card companies like PayPal, Mastercard, Visa and Discover no longer process payments on sites like Pornhub.

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