Pornhub is not only one of the most popular offers on the Internet. The platform is one of the most visited websites ever. According to the market research group Similarweb, it was recently ranked 12th globally, just ahead of the online retailer Amazon. Not surprisingly given the subject matter, Pornhub has also regularly found itself in the midst of controversy since its founding in 2007. The site has been accused of distributing videos showing rape and abuse of minors. After a corresponding disclosure report in 2020, the credit card companies Mastercard and Visa withdrew their payment services from the site in the meantime.

Roland Lindner

Business correspondent in New York.

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In the course of this, Pornhub has removed millions of videos from its site and only allows content to be uploaded by verified users. Last year, there was another critical report about inadequate content moderation on Pornhub, shortly after which the CEO and another top manager of parent company Mindgeek resigned. This week, a documentary came out on the streaming service Netflix, which revolves around Pornhub.

Now Pornhub and its parent company have a new owner, and it's a remarkable combination. The buyer is a new financial investor from Canada called "Ethical Capital Partners" (ECP). He describes his approach as "ethics-first" and says he looks for investment targets "in industries that require leadership with high ethical principles." ECP wants to engage with companies with a focus on technology that have "high legal and regulatory complexity" and where transparency and accountability play a major role. The website states: "Where others see complexity, we see opportunities."

Mindgeek is now ECP's first investment, a purchase price was not disclosed. The company has its legal headquarters in Luxembourg, but conducts its business primarily from Canada. In addition to Pornhub, it also includes several other sites such as Youporn and Derek Ogden, a partner at ECP who used to work for the Canadian Police force, said in a statement that Mindgeek operates "legally and responsibly," according to the holding firm. However, ECP is aware that it is not enough to comply with regulatory requirements and that Mindgeek must take a "more visible leadership role" in the industry. The statement goes on to say that Mindgeek should become "a leader in the fight against illegal content online". ECP also points to Mindgeek's security practices, which, in addition to verifying users, include that all uploaded content is reviewed by human moderators.