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Following Backlash Against Pornhub, Mastercard Adds New Rules For Banks Processing Payments For Porn Sites

Pornhub (Credit: Shutterstock/Pe3k)

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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Mastercard has added new rules for banks processing payments from pornography sites following allegations that Pornhub allowed sexual exploitation on its platform.

Mastercard’s updated requirements state that banks must ensure that porn websites document the age and identity of all persons depicted in adult content as well as for those uploading the content. There also must be “clear, unambiguous and documented consent,” John Verdeschi, Mastercard’s senior vice president of customer engagement and performance, said in the post. (RELATED: Pornhub Purges Over 10 Million Videos)

The credit card company also now requires a content review process prior to its publication, a complaint resolution process that addresses illegal content within seven business days, and an appeals process that allows any person depicted to request that their content be removed. 

“This month, we are extending our existing Specialty Merchant Registration requirements,” Verdeschi said in the Wednesday statement. “The banks that connect merchants to our network will need to certify that the seller of adult content has effective controls in place to monitor, block and, where necessary, take down all illegal content.”

He continued: “You might ask, ‘Why now?’ In the past few years, the ability to upload content to the internet has become easier than ever. All someone needs is a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection.”

Both Visa and Mastercard told the Daily Caller News Foundation in December that they were no longer allowing their cards to be used on Pornhub after opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof accused Pornhub of monetizing “child rapes, revenge pornography, spycam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content” and more. (RELATED: Hawley, Lawmakers Introduce Bills Allowing Victims To Sue Pornhub, Perpetrators)

“This could be a VERY big step to reduce abuses,” Kristof tweeted Wednesday regarding Mastercard’s announcement.

Following the announcements from the credit card companies in December, Pornhub began removing videos that were not uploaded by the site’s official partners or members of the site’s programs. The pornography website had about 13.5 million videos before it began purging on December 13, Vox reported, and many of these videos were from unverified accounts.

The DCNF confirmed December 14 that Pornhub had removed over 78% of its videos, leaving 2,913,964 videos on the site. As of Wednesday evening, there were 3,156,977 videos on the pornography platform. (RELATED: Sasse Demands Full Investigation After Pornhub Rapidly Changes Policies Over Allegations Of Child Sexual Exploitation)

Screenshot, Pornhub.

Screenshot, Pornhub.

A Pornhub spokesman told the DCNF that the company’s current policies “far exceed those … laid out as mandatory in the announcement today.”

“As part of our policy to ban unverified uploaders, we have now also suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by content partners or members of the Model Program,” Pornhub announced in December following the backlash. “This means every piece of Pornhub content is from verified uploaders, a requirement that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter have yet to institute.”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s CEO Dawn Hawkins praised Mastercard’s new rules in a Wednesday statement.

“Mastercard is setting a standard for the entire payment processing industry to curtail weaknesses criminal networks have to-date used with impunity,” Hawkins said. “Visa and Discover must follow this example.”

Visa and Discover did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the DCNF.

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