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Visa, Mastercard Block Payments On Pornhub After Child Abuse Content Allegations

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Mohit Manghnani
·2 min read
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Visa Inc (NYSE: V) and Mastercard Inc (NYSE: MA) said Thursday they are cutting ties with Pornhub over accusations related to the platform hosting videos of sexual violence and illegal underage content, the Associated Press reports.

What Happened: The move comes after an article published by the New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof claimed that Pornhub failed to “adequately block or filter content depicting violence,” allowing illegal content, including a video of a 14-year-old girl, to spread. Following the article, Mastercard said it was considering cutting ties with the website.

AP reports that Mastercard is terminating the use of its cards on Pornhub after its investigation confirmed the violations. Mastercard is investigating other websites for illegal content as well.

Visa said it is suspending the use of its cards on Pornhub, but its investigation is pending.

Why It Matters: Prominent investor Bill Ackman had urged Visa and Mastercard to “immediately withhold payments or withdraw until this is fixed.” 

National Center on Sexual Exploitation had met with Visa and Mastercard earlier this year and urged them to stop processing payments to Pornhub. Diane Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director with the organization, said, “we are grateful that both companies will make these significant changes.” 

AP reports that Pornhub called the action “exceptionally disappointing” in a statement. “This news is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods,” it added.

Reportedly, two days ago, Pornhub announced steps to protect against images of abuse, nonconsensual activity, and underage models on the site.

Victims rights lawyer Carrie Goldberg said in a statement on Twitter that the scrutiny on hosting material related to sexual violence and child abuse needs to extend to major platforms like those of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB).

"For every [one] case involving a rape tape on Pornhub, I have 50 involving rape and CSAM being disseminated on [Instagram] and FB," Goldberg tweeted.

"Pornhub is far from perfect. But mainstream big tech is far worse and have a built-in mechanism for harassing victims directly."

Price Action: On Thursday, MA shares closed lower by 1.58% at $331.52, V shares were down by 0.94% at $207.61.

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