Heteronormativity and Pornography

an Algorithmic Analysis of Pornhub


* * *

Tracking Exposed & UniMi
(coming soon on Porn Studies)

poTREX extension

Free software pornhub.tracking.exposed

we analyze platforms

* * *

NOT PEOPLE

TREX browser extension collects data on .json and .csv formats, in order to decipher the functioning of the proprietary algorithms for public interest.

CSV|JSON structure

* * *

DATA FORMAT

Each entry represent a proposed video from Pornhub.
They are video snippet you might click on while visiting the platform.
      {
        "title": "Sunny Sextape on the Sofa! Squirt, deepthroat",
        "authorName": "Leolulu",
        "authorLink": "/pornstar/leolulu",
        "duration": "17:15",
        "href": "/view_video.php?viewkey=ph5e18b11299830",
        "savingTime": "2020-01-19T22:18:10.522Z",
        "metadataId": "738c411c67c7b6107bbb3ff8631070011a814f48",
        "clientTime": "2020-01-19T22:17:48.000Z",
        "size": 421227,
        "randomUUID": "INITucmr5condtj2zkfy9o6cv4",
        "selector": "body",
        "incremental": 0,
        "amountGrossDimension": 0,
        "packet": 0,
        "type": "home",
        "processed": true,
        "step": 0,
        "session": 1,
        "pseudo": "blueberry-cake-pistachio",
        "sectionName": "Hot Porn Videos In United States",
        "sectionHref": "/video?o=ht&cc=us",
        "sectionOrder": 0,
        "displayOrder": 0,
      },
        

Our BOTS from guardoni.js helped us



Adding the poTREX extension

By default on every new clean browser profile


Open homepages

(or videos) avoiding PTSD


Unravel the algorithmic mist

starting from a .csv release

To consider how the platform might reiterate a heteronormative point of view, we created several profiles with the intention to investigate differences in recommended and personalized content.

* * *

to the user accounts were assigned a variable gender identity and a fixed sexual interest during the registration phase

How platforms conceptualise gender has broader effects, as it reifies a specific, socially embedded cultural conception that is able to shape, affect, and maintain gender identities.

Bivens et al. 2016

What signing up to Pornhub looks like ;)

METHODOLOGY

‘gender’ and ‘sexual orientation’ are defined by the platform

    Data collection processes leveraged on the ‘Pornhub Tracking Exposed’ (poTREX) infrastructure, that collects and processes data from Pornhub.com web pages such as page layout, video order, titles and views, authors, categories, and more.

    This data collection helped us to determine potential recurring patterns, especially regarding the underlying logics governing the different sections of the homepage.

  • Videos per homepage: 46
  • Homepages: 1600
  • Videos: 45.959
  • Reliability: 99.1%
  • Unique videos: 118

Observations

  • Homepage: it keeps changing for different users
  • Sections: geographically or individually personalized
  • Recommended: different gender identities have different recommendations

F I N D I N G S

* * *

A small summary and next steps

homepages layout

* * *

COMMON SECTIONS

The homepage is not completely individually personalized.

The majority of the sections propose the same videos to all users.
This is the case for:
· Hot Porn Videos in Your Country
· Most Viewed Videos in Your Country
· Recently Featured XXX Videos

personalized content

* * *

RECOMMENDED CATEGORY FOR YOU

Not all 10 profiles shared the same 5 sections

The cluster seem to reflect gender-normativity. This is especially relevant considering that this specific section is missing for Same Sex Couple (female), Non-Binary, Trans Female, and Trans Male.

personalized content

* * *

RECOMMENDED
FOR YOU

Common for all profiles

the gender-normative group showcases models, channels, and pornstar; the second group doesn't include channels (production companies). Pornhub manages content in relation to gender identity factoring in broader productive and distributive logics as well?

F U T U R E
D I R E C T I O N S

* * *

  • Leaning into more qualitative methodologies might lead to different (and interesting) results

  • Geographic and Cultural Axis. Analyze geographic differences to understand the effects of potential anglocentrism at the ethnic level.

  • Linguistic analysis of titles and comments to understand the imagery surrounding videos/categories/channels

info[@]tracking.exposed