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After VidMe went defunct, sites that hosted its videos are now unwittingly hosting embeds to a very NSFW porn site. The pornographic imagery has been cut from this screenshot.


Screen capture by Daniel Van Boom/CNET

Do you remember VidMe? It was a video hosting and streaming site setup in 2014 that hoped to compete with YouTube. It ultimately couldn’t compete, and closed its virtual doors in 2017. Its domain was apparently recently purchased by a porn site, 5 Star HD Porn. The result is that websites that used to host VidMe clips now have embedded clips of extremely NSFW porn videos. 

Twitter user Doxie made the discovery posting a thread to Twitter showing that sites like The Washington Post, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post and more all had 5 Star HD Porn videos embedded on their article pages. Motherboard found that archived versions of these stories previously had VidMe embeds where the porn now is. 

At the time of writing, Washington Post and Huffington Post appear to have rectified the issue. The pornographic embed is still live on New York Magazine, as well as other publications like Complex. 

It’s possibly the most dramatic example of the risks posed by link rot. Blogs and news sites regularly embed YouTube clips, Facebook and Instagram posts, and tweets into articles. The result is that old articles often have broken links to deleted YouTube videos or removed tweets — the latter of which are particularly prevalent after President Donald Trump’s banishment from social media platforms

5 Star HD Porn was contacted for comment but did not immediately respond.

The Twitter user who first discovered the issue noted that you can google VidMe + any keyword and webpages that hosted VidMe content, now replaced with porn embeds, will surface. (I found a few this way.) Users added to the thread sites they found to still be unwittingly hosting the NSFW content. 

Doxie stumbled on the issue while searching for content for their Instagram meme page, they told CNET, and discovered a Facebook page with undetected pornographic images. “I just think it’s funny when multi-billion dollar companies make ‘mistakes’ like this (and get away with it) but will likely turn around to blame their algorithms and technology,” Doxie told CNET. “It’s quite absurd in my opinion.”

“A few people mentioned this is something called ‘link rot’,” Doxie added, “never heard of the term, I’m not a tech person. I just post memes online.” 





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