Mastercard, Visa Block Payments on Pornhub Over Videos Showing Child Abuse and Rape

Pornhub called the actions as "disappointing" and said that it came despite the company taking strict actions to moderate its content.

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Mastercard and Visa announced on Thursday that they have stopped processing payments on Pornhub following reports last week that several videos posted on the adult website depicted child abuse and rape. The announcement was made after both Mastercard and Visa earlier this week started investigations into their financial ties with MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub.

The decision come at a time when Pornhub is making substantial changes in how it handles and moderates content. Pornhub posts millions of videos every year with majority depicting consensual act. However, some have raised questions in recent times that claim to showing videos of child abuse and trafficking.

Cutting off Ties

PornHub logo

Mastercard said that it is permanently stopping the use of its cards on the pornographic website after investigations "confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site. Thus from now on, no Mastercard transactions can be conducted on Pornhub from today.

Separately, Visa said in a statement that its investigation is still on but the company will keep the services suspended for the time being. "We are instructing the financial institutions who serve MindGeek to suspend processing of payments through the Visa network," pending the completion of its investigation.

Mastercard Pixabay

The decision comes after the New York Times last week reported that the adult website contained innumerable videos showing child abuse and sex trafficking and are "unlawful content." The report stated that videos of teenage girls who had been victims of assault and trafficking had been found on the website.

Big Setback for Pornhub

Although Mastercard didn't clarify what the investigation exactly revealed, the decision by two of the biggest companies to sever ties came as a major setback for the Pornhub. The porn website called the actions as "disappointing" and said that it came despite the company taking strict actions to moderate its content.

Pornhub on Tuesday introduced took fresh actions to moderate it content such as banning downloads of its videos and uploading of videos by unidentified users.

Visa-branded Wallet Card
A Visa credit card is seen on a computer keyboard in this picture illustration taken September 6, 2017 REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Illustration

"This news is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods," a spokesperson told The Verge. The New York Times report also stated that uploading videos of child abuse and trafficking was an act of irresponsibility. It said that although the original people who were involved in these cases of child abuse were arrested but Pornhub "escaped responsibility for sharing the videos and profiting from them."

The decision by Mastercard and Visa might lead to more vigilance and crackdown on several other adult websites. Mastercard said it would conduct more such investigation of potential illegal content on other websites, and if required with take strict action.