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Ning, YouTube Crack Down on Porn and “Mature Content”

[Wired.com]- It’s a bad week for Internet porn, or at least for porn hoping to reach the masses through social networking.

Ning announced Monday that it will discontinue hosting adult-oriented networks in its “Red Light District” as of January 1, and YouTube has begun to implement tighter restrictions on adult videos, it said today on its blog.

Ning, which typically allows anyone to create a social network on its platform, says the decision was not a change in its policy or mission. CEO and co-founder Gina Bianchini describes it is a logical step considering all of the problems the porn has caused for the site including low ad revenue, multiple DMCA take-down notices, and an increase in illegal porn sites.

“We’re not discontinuing the Red Light District because we no longer believe in the freedom to create your own social network for anything as long as it’s legal. We do. Practically though, supporting adult networks no longer makes sense,” Bianchini writes on the Ning blog.

Ning has tried to allow porn to co-exist among other networks by letting creators do their own moderating and by enforcing splash pages for adult content as well as not including them in searches. But it’s no surprise that this freedom has been abused.

YouTube has apparently also been under pressure to take action against pornography leaking its way onto the site.

In a recent blog post entitled “A YouTube for All of Us,” the site outlines several new initiatives to help crack down on mature content, while continuing its policy of removing anything flagged and determined to be porn.

Videos that are “sexually suggestive” (but not prohibited) will now be age-restricted to viewers 18 or older. In additon, these types of videos will be algorithmically demoted on pages like “Most Viewed” and “Top Favorited.”

It’s not unusual for videos tagged or titled with misleading, sexually suggestive phrases to make it into the top rankings. Last week, The Guardian took a look at the 20 most-viewed videos of all time on YouTube, one (which has since been removed) is an Asian pop song with the misleading title “xxx.”

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