Why is Mastercard investigating PornHub? Porn giant accused of hosting 'rape and child abuse' videos

Pornhub said it has a vast team of human moderators who manually review 'every single upload,' as well as automated detection technologies


                            Why is Mastercard investigating PornHub? Porn giant accused of hosting 'rape and child abuse' videos
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Mastercard has launched an investigation against Pornhub following a column by Nicholas Kristof for The New York Times, claiming the adult website consists of videos depicting child abuse. In the column, the author had described videos on porn giant were "assaults on unconscious women and girls". 

"The issue is not pornography but rape. Let's agree that promoting assaults on children or on anyone without consent is unconscionable," Kristof wrote.

American investor and hedge manager Bill Ackman has called for a temporary hold on all the transactions made via Visa and Mastercard while investigating the matter with Pornhub's parent company MindGeek's bank. "The statement said MasterCard has zero tolerance for illegal activity on its network and works with law enforcement and other groups to detect and prevent illegal transactions,' according to CBC. Mastercard told Reuters that "if the claims are substantiated, we will take immediate action."

What does Pornhub have to say?

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Pornhub, however, has denied the allegations and told in a statement to Reuters, "Any assertion that we allow CSAM (child sexual abuse material) is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue."

"We have zero tolerance for child sexual abuse materials (CSAM). 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."

When Ackman suggested that it sharing of content on porn sites should be made "illegal" until the age and consent of participants have been validated, Pornhub said it has a vast team of "human moderators who manually review 'every single upload,' as well as automated detection technologies."

Meanwhile, Kristof has also accused Pornhub of monetizing from "child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags"

He added, "A search [for specific terms] leads in each case to more than 100,000 videos. Most aren’t of children being assaulted, but too many are". Pornhub reportedly boasts 3.5 billion visits a month, more than Netflix, Yahoo and Amazon. 

Mastercard has told in another statement that if the investigation determines that Pornhub wasn't complying with "applicable laws or the financial institutions' acceptable use policies and underwriting standards they will no longer be able to accept Visa payments."

Kristof questions Canada's policies towards pornography

Nicholas Kristof (Getty Images)

The journalist, in his column, also wondered Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could host a company "that inflicts rape videos on the world." Pornhub parents company MindGeek has its headquarters in Montreal. Trudeau said in response, "We are always extremely concerned with gender-based violence, with exploitation of minors, with child pornography. We're going to continue to work with police agencies and security agencies and all means possible to ensure that all Canadians are kept safe."

A group of Canadian lawmakers has filed a petition urging the government to take action against Pornhub and its parent company Mindgeek for profiting from "mass sexual crime."

Meanwhile, Senator Josh Hawley in the United States reportedly said he would introduce legislation to create a federal right to sue any individual involved in trafficking and exploitation by sites such as Pornhub.

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