A Porn Site Bought Vidme, and Now There’s Porn on the Washington Post, HuffPost, and More

Image for article titled A Porn Site Bought Vidme, and Now There's Porn on the Washington Post, HuffPost, and More

Screenshot: Lucas Ropek/Huffington Post

A flood of hardcore porn popped up on websites across the internet Thursday, infiltrating the likes of popular news sites like the Washington Post, New York magazine, Huffington Post, and other web pages.

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The incident occurred sometime around mid-afternoon, when people reading serious news stories in serious media outlets suddenly found themselves staring at links to videos with names like “Bottoms Up Brianna,” “Naughty Spy Girls Part 2,” and “Marsha and Megan Make a Mean Team,” among others.

In short, the pornageddon seems to have been initiated by a recent acquisition: A porn company, called 5 Star Porn HD, bought the domain for a now-defunct video hosting site, VidMe. Previously a promising startup that sought to become a competitor to YouTube, VidMe went out of business back in 2017—and its domain recently expired.

Full disclosure: Some sites belonging to G/O Media, Gizmodo’s parent company, were swept up in the mishap, though the stories in which the adult content was embedded have been since cleaned up. The Washington Post, HuffPost, and others also appear to be scrambling to delete the pornography from their pages.

It’s not 100% clear what caused the videos to become embedded in the sites. One theory is that all embedded Vidme videos displayed the homepage of 5 Star HD, rather than the original videos. This, in turn, resulted in totally not-porn websites suddenly displaying people having sex. It could also just be a marketing stunt, as 5 Star Porn HD doesn’t appear to be particularly popular, based on low video views on its homepage.

We attempted to reach out to 5 Star Porn HD through its website’s submission form, but it appears to be totally borked, so we’re not sure if they actually got our request for comment and an explanation about what the hell happened. We’ll update this story if we hear back, but don’t hold your breath.

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