The party is ON! Join us at TNW Conference 2021 in Amsterdam for face-to-face business!

The heart of tech

This article was published on December 11, 2020

Visa and MasterCard block Pornhub payments over allegations of illegal content

Visa and MasterCard block Pornhub payments over allegations of illegal content
Abhimanyu Ghoshal
Story by

Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Managing Editor

Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].

Following a disturbing piece in the New York Times last week about Pornhub hosting unlawful content depicting rape and child sexual abuse, Visa and MasterCard have stopped allowing their cards to be used for payments on the site — meaning you currently can’t subscribe to Pornhub Premium, renew your membership, or pony up for exclusive content with said services.

MasterCard has terminated the use of its cards on Pornhub permanently, and has said it will look into this issue on other websites; it’s worth noting that Pornhub parent company MindGeek runs more than a hundred adult entertainment sites. Meanwhile, Visa is suspending its service until an investigation is completed.

The news follows Pornhub‘s actions from earlier this week to block free video downloads (only paid clips can be downloaded), and to allow uploads only from verified content creators going forward. Pornhub said these financial companies’ decisions were “disappointing,” as they went ahead with their decisions to block payments after the site announced its new restrictions.

As NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof noted in his piece, Pornhub not only hosted illegal content as well as revenge porn, but also pointed users to more of the same via search suggestions. Videos captured and uploaded without the consent of those in the footage have remained on the platform for years, leading to long-lasting turmoil in those people’s lives.

This will undoubtedly hurt Pornhub‘s finances; what remains to be seen is whether it will also force the site to take strict action to strongly police the content it hosts. The site claims to receive more than 36 billion visits a year.

We’ve contacted Pornhub, Visa, and MasterCard to learn more, and will update this post when there’s a response.

Also tagged with