Pornhub: Mastercard and Visa to block use of cards on site after child abuse allegations | Child protection

Mastercard and Visa said on Thursday they would block their customers from using the credit cards to make purchases on Pornhub following accusations the pornographic website showed videos of child abuse and rape.

They reacted following an investigation by the opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times that also alleged the site depicts revenge pornography and video taken without the consent of participants. Pornhub has denied the allegations.

Mastercard said it is terminating use of its cards on Pornhub after its own investigation confirmed violations of standards prohibiting unlawful conduct on the site. Mastercard said it was also investigating other websites for potential illegal content.

Visa said it was suspending use of its cards on Pornhub on Thursday even though its own investigation was incomplete.

Pornhub, in a statement, called the actions “exceptionally disappointing”. Two days ago, the company announced steps to protect against images of abuse, nonconsensual activity and underage models on the site, including a ban on unverified users uploading material.

“This news is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods,” Pornhub said.

The company said it had more than 42bn visits to its website last year.

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

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