Mastercard and Visa to Investigate Pornhub over Allegations of Child Abuse Videos

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Mastercard and Visa announced they are investigating allegations made in a New York Times column that Pornhub is posting videos that portray child abuse on its adult website.

Reuters reported Sunday Mastercard said it was investigating the allegations with the bank of Pornhub’s parent MindGeek, a Canadian company that focuses primarily on pornography.

“If the claims are substantiated, we will take immediate action,” Mastercard told Reuters.

Similarly, Visa said it is “actively engaging with the relevant financial institutions to investigate,” while also engaging directly with MindGeek.

“If the site is identified as not complying with applicable laws or the financial institutions’ acceptable use policies and underwriting standards they will no longer be able to accept Visa payments,” the company said.

According to the Reuters report, billionaire investor Bill Ackman called upon Mastercard and Visa to temporarily stop payments to the porn site until the allegations are investigated.

Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote Friday about Pornhub:

Its site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags. A search for “girls under18” (no space) or “14yo” leads in each case to more than 100,000 videos. Most aren’t of children being assaulted, but too many are.

“A great majority of the 6.8 million new videos posted on the site each year probably involve consenting adults, but many depict child abuse and nonconsensual violence,” Kristof continued. “Because it’s impossible to be sure whether a youth in a video is 14 or 18, neither Pornhub nor anyone else has a clear idea of how much content is illegal.”

In the United States, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced Friday he will introduce legislation that would give sex trafficking victims a federal right to sue sites such as Pornhub. Hawley praised Kristof for his “tremendous” investigative reporting:

According to Fox News, Pornhub is denying the allegations of permitting child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on its site.

“Any assertion that we allow CSAM is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue,” Pornhub said in a statement.

“We have zero tolerance for CSAM,” the company stated. “Pornhub is unequivocally committed to combating CSAM, and has instituted an industry-leading trust and safety policy to identify and eradicate illegal material from our community.”

Anti-trafficking activist Laila Mickelwait has called for Pornhub to be closed down because the platform does not do enough to oversee its content.

Mickelwait founded her Traffickinghub campaign, which states on a petition:

Pornhub, the world’s largest and most popular porn site, has been repeatedly caught enabling, hosting, and profiting from videos of child rape, sex trafficking, and other forms of non-consensual content exploiting women and minors. We’re calling for Pornhub to be shut down and its executives held accountable for these crimes.

In May, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Pornhub urged its followers to donate to organizations such as the disgraced, leftwing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the NAACP, Breitbart News observed. The porn media giant said it stands in “solidarity against racism,” but the site’s critics have asserted its claim is phony since it hosts racist videos.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) urged the Justice Department to investigate Pornhub in March over allegations the site exploits victims of sex trafficking, including children.

Sasse also proposed an investigation into MindGeek, with headquarters in Luxembourg, Breitbart News reported.

However, MindGeek denied the accusations, stating, “Pornhub has a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting non-consensual content and under-age material. Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate.”

Reuters noted that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was working with police and security officials to address the Pornhub concerns.

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