Porn sites more popular in UK than social networks

Legal porn sites account for 8.5 per cent of all Internet clicks from the UK, according to figures.

Pornographic websites are more popular in the UK than social networks, shopping, news, or business sites, according to figures obtained by the Guardian.

Visits to legal porn sites accounted for 8.5 per cent of all UK clicks on web pages in June. The only categories that were more popular were arts and entertainment (a huge amount of which was YouTube) and search engines.

The figures were compiled by SimilarWeb, which measures clicks rather than sheer volume of web traffic. And they show just how popular porn is in the UK, as prime minister  David Cameron pledges to block it by default . He wants Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to apply a filter unless you say otherwise.

While the UK's 8.5 per cent is above the worldwide average of 7.7 per cent, we're not as grot-obsessed as the Germans (12.5 per cent) or the Spanish (9.6 per cent). But the US, Ireland, France and Australia are all below us.

"Traffic on adult sites represents a huge portion of what people use the Internet for, not just in the UK but around the world," Daniel Buchuk, head of brand and strategy at SimilarWeb told the Guardian. "It is astonishing to see that adult sites are more popular in the UK than all social networks combined."

The figures don't include visits on mobile phones, or illegal searches for child abuse.

Critics say Cameron's stance on Internet porn is misguided, because the really harmful stuff is shared over secure peer-to-peer networks rather than searched for via Google. The Open Rights Group has been one of the most vocal opponents, claiming that Cameron's "pornwall" wants people to sleepwalk into censorship.

It's a tricky one. How do you protect the little ones without clamping down on individual rights? I think this debate will run and run. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.

About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.

     

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