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ECP Celebrates Anniversary of Aylo Acquisition With Emphasis on Trust, Safety

Ottawa — Aylo and Ethical Capital Partners released statements on Thursday commemorating the first anniversary of ECP’s acquisition of the technology and media company and owner of a large portfolio of adult online entertainment properties.

This is the official ECP statement penned by Partner and VP of Public Engagement Sarah Bain”:

ECP believes in creating value in sectors driven by evolving public views and regulatory approaches. The acquisition of Aylo, a year ago, aligned with our mandate to invest in companies that are committed to continuously improving their ethical standards, enabled by investment in technology and proactive interaction with our team and advisors.

At the time of the acquisition announcement, we stated that we were confident that the Aylo team and all Aylo platforms operate with trust and safety at the forefront of everything they do, in contrast to the public’s perception of this industry. Furthermore, we found that Aylo was meeting legal and regulatory requirements and working with law enforcement and regulators to respond to ever-changing threats, challenges and opportunities. We still believe this to be true. Moreover, we firmly believe that the day-to-day operations of Aylo are exceptionally well-managed and in capable hands.

There were two important aspects we wanted to address from the beginning of our working relationship with Aylo. First, the ECP partners would focus on supporting the team at Aylo to correct the public perception of Aylo, which we knew was wrong. Second, we were committed to supporting and investing in Aylo’s ongoing improvement of its Trust and Safety processes and procedures.

Over the past twelve months, we have engaged openly and transparently with law enforcement, advocacy organizations and other stakeholders. We are further encouraged by Aylo’s work in this regard. An example of this commitment was Aylo’s efforts to work with the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York. We were pleased with the Government’s conclusion that based on its extensive review of Aylo, spanning over 30 months, it did not find that Aylo or its affiliates violated any federal criminal laws prohibiting sex trafficking or the sexual exploitation of minors. For that reason, the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed that it would not bring any such charges against Aylo or its related companies. In our view, this also refutes the misinformation which has been circulating related to Aylo’s Trust and Safety program.

We recognize that these challenges are ongoing, and we will continue to consider ways in which we can support the Aylo team to continue to address these and other misconceptions head on.

To add, we also heard regularly that more needs to be done for the adult industry as a whole. As one of the largest adult entertainment companies, Aylo would like to further their work with sex workers, content creators and the organizations that support and advocate for them. The stigmatization of content creators and workers within this industry is a challenge we take seriously and are dedicated to addressing prejudices that unfairly target individuals within our industry. By being vocal, investing in defense and supporting stigmatized content creators, we contribute to the collective strength and resilience of our industry.

Our success is intertwined with the success of every member of our community. For years Aylo, like much of the adult industry, avoided engaging in these debates. My colleagues and I now better understand this reluctance and the overriding concern that the stigma associated with the

sector would hinder any efforts the company made to provide practical and workable solutions to answer criticisms that were being raised. ECP seeks to be very public on these matters. We have been met with a combination of good will and attacks. But we will continue to reach out to stakeholders that are critical of the adult entertainment industry to communicate the path forward for Aylo and its platforms. We will reach out and be open and transparent to media and other entities seeking to tell pertinent stories in the sector, whether they are positive or critical. We want the facts to be straight. We will learn from all these encounters and mold our enterprise to be what right looks like.

In closing, we believe the internet should be safe for all. In year one, we focused on combining the experience of our teams, partners and our independent advisors’ in the areas of law enforcement, legal counsel, public engagement and finance. We coupled that with Aylo’s world-class safety technologies, expertise and recognition in this space, to engage and work alongside regulators, NGO’s, trusted flaggers, law enforcement, advocacy groups, content creators and industry groups, to improve the internet, and empower both adult users and adult content creators to make informed choices about their online experiences, stigma-free.

As we mark the anniversary of ECP’s acquisition of Aylo, we reflect upon a year of collaboration and shared success. Our partnership with ECP has enabled us to advance and revolutionize safe, legal, sex-positive tech, and connect adult users worldwide with creators, content, advertising partners through technology they can trust.

Over the last year, we have upheld a commitment to transparency, emphasized by our dedication to openness in all our efforts. We hope that as people become more familiar with our company, our values and our initiatives, we can facilitate meaningful dialogue and actions fostering a safer internet. We are looking forward to enhancing support for stakeholders, from policymakers to concerned parents, enabling them to gain a deeper understanding of our position and how we are actively contributing to online safety.

We are eager to highlight the core values that define Aylo: integrity, innovation and a mission to create a safer online environment for all. Together with ECP, we are committed in our resolve to set industry standards by establishing trusted environments that facilitate a safe online user experience, and to empower our communities by celebrating diversity, inclusion, and expression.

Trust and Safety and Technology Updates

Transparency Reports: Over the years, Aylo has put in place robust measures to protect our platforms from abuse. Aylo is constantly improving its Trust and Safety policies to better identify, flag, remove, review and report illegal or abusive material. We are committed to doing all that we can to ensure a safe online experience for our users, which involves a concerted effort to innovate and always striving to do more. As part of our efforts and dedication to Trust and Safety, we feel it is important to provide information about our Trust and Safety initiatives, technologies, moderation practices and how our platform responds to harmful content, so much so, as of 2024, we now publish our transparency reports twice a year. For more information, please visit Pornhub’s Transparency Reports page.

Pornhub Co-Performer Verification Updates: In continued efforts to prioritize and innovate in Trust and Safety, Pornhub made updates to the way that they validate IDs and Release Agreements. Expanding the program, making it mandatory to submit records of IDs and signed

Release Agreements (digital consent forms) for Verified Models working with new Co-Performers that post content to Pornhub: This makes the Pornhub network the first major adult content platform operator to implement digital consent and release forms for co-performers and the only free content sharing platform (adult or otherwise) to require ID verification of all who appear in content. This is not a new requirement for Verified Models, rather, it’s a new way to verify compliance with existing requirements. Effective January 23, 2024, before new content with a new co-performer can be published, the Pornhub network requires IDs and signed Release Agreements be submitted* into their system for all new performers (*by individual or on behalf of an individual). For more information about the submission options, please visit What Co-Performer Verification Tools are Available.

Parental Controls:  All Aylo content is for adults only. We take seriously our commitment to the safety of our users and integrity of our platforms. This means that all Aylo sites are fully RTA (Restricted to Adults) compliant as rated by the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP).

To help enforce our terms and assist in restricting access to minors, our sites can be blocked using a simple parental control tool that is explained in detail on our sites. Furthermore, this year, we took an additional step to ensure this tool can be accessed before ever entering our sites. We also collaborate with a network of over a dozen global partners to help implement parental controls. We firmly believe that parents are best placed to police their children’s activity using the plethora of tools already available in modern operating systems and devices. For more information please visit Pornhub’s RTA (Restricted to Adults) Compliance page and our Parental Controls page.

Device-Based Solution for Age Verification: Be it dating sites, online gambling platforms or adult content marketplaces – we believe that materials intended for adults should be restricted to adult audiences only. We have publicly supported age verification of users for years. We believe that laws must ensure minors do not access content intended for adults and preserve user safety and privacy. We believe that the real solution for protecting minors and adults online is to verify users’ ages at the point of access—the users’ devices—and to deny or permit access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that verification. We know that preventing minors from accessing age inappropriate content is an issue that spans across online business models like social media, gaming, online dating and we see a real global solution in device-based verification. We are eager to be part of this solution and are happy to collaborate with government, civil society and tech partners to arrive at an effective device-based age verification solution. For more information please visit Age Verification in the News.

Trusted Flagger Program: Launched in 2020, through our Trusted Flagger Program, members are empowered to alert us to content they believe may violate our terms of service. The Trusted Flagger Program consists of nearly 60 leading non-profit internet and child-safety organizations, including 10 new members in the past year. Partners have a direct line of access to Aylo’s moderation team, and any content identified by a Trusted Flagger is immediately disabled. For more information about our Trusted Flagger Program, please visit Pornhub’s Trust and Safety Initiatives Page (under Trusted Flagger Program).

Deterrence Program: Aylo actively works with organizations to display deterrence messaging. Deterrence messaging is displayed when users attempt to search for certain words and phrases. Such searches will yield a clear deterrence message about the illegality of non-consensual material or of underage content, while offering a free, confidential, and anonymous support resource for those interested in seeking help for controlling their urges to engage in illegal behavior. In 2023, we added 8 new messaging partners who offer local resources to change user behavior. For more information about the Deterrence Program, please visit Pornhub’s Trust and Safety Initiatives Page (under Deterrence Messaging).

CSAM Reporting: As part of our commitment to Trust and Safety online, we voluntarily report all instances of potential child sexual abuse material (CSAM) to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Through the use of CSAM detection technology, identity verification measures, as well as human moderators, we strive to quickly identify, block and remove potential CSAM and ban users who have attempted to upload this content. Any content that we identify as or are made aware of being potential CSAM is also fingerprinted to prevent re-upload upon removal. We also work with NCMEC through their Take it Down service, a program that seeks to prevent the distribution of non-consensual material (more information about this program below).

Industry Standards: At Aylo, we are constantly working with key stakeholder groups to develop leading standards at our studios. We are actively engaging in activities to create guidelines for all studios across the industry. We announced a pilot project in partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to develop a model of good practice to support the adult industry in combatting child sexual abuse material online.

Working Relationships and Partnership Updates

In 2023, Aylo and ECP continued to nourish strategic partnerships, focusing on supporting several leading global organizations such as Pineapple Support, Stop NCII, Crime Stoppers International, The Cupcake Girls and SWOP Behind Bars. Post-acquisition, we also expanded our engagement efforts. We reached out and engaged with over 100 representatives from various industries, corporations and associations outside of the adult entertainment industry, as well as elected officials in various jurisdictions.

In 2024, we plan to continue building constructive relationships with these partners, with the aim of supporting their work and creating shared resources to serve our community. We hope to continue establishing relationships that promote the rights and safety of sex workers with organizations such as the Free Speech Coalition and prioritize initiatives that will address and increase the awareness of our Trust and Safety protocols, model community, promotion of sexual wellness and overall brand transparency.

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