Pornhub Could Lose Major Credit Cards Over Child Abuse Videos

Visa, Mastercard may terminate their business relationships with porn site after The New York Times reported it’s “infested” with rape videos

Pornhub could soon lose the support of Visa and Mastercard over the porn giant’s inability to remove child rape videos. The development comes a few days after The New York Times reported Pornhub, which receives 3.5 billion visits each month, is filled with — and makes money off of — videos of revenge pornography, child abuse and underage children having sex, among other unsettling clips.

CNBC was the first outlet on Monday to report the world’s top two credit card companies were investigating their relationship with the video-sharing and pornography website and Mindgeek, the Canada-based conglomerate that manages Pornhub and several other popular porn sites.

A Mastercard rep told TheWrap that the company has “zero tolerance for illegal activity” on its network, adding that Mastercard was working with law enforcement and organizations like the National and International Center for Missing and Exploited Children to monitor potentially illegal transactions.

“We are investigating the allegations raised in the New York Times and are working with MindGeek’s bank to understand this situation, in addition to the other steps they have already taken,” the Mastercard rep said. “If the claims are substantiated, we will take immediate action. When we identify illegal activity, our policy is to ask the acquirer to terminate the relationship, unless an effective compliance plan is put in place.”

A Visa rep shared a similar statement with CNBC, saying it was “aware of the allegations” made by The New York Times and was “actively engaging” with Mindgeek on the situation.

“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 rep told CNBC.

Losing both Visa and Mastercard would be a big hit for the site, which offers plenty of free content but also has a $9.99 per month “premium” membership plan.

A Pornhub rep told CNBC that “any assertion that we allow CSAM (child sexual abuse material) is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.”

The Pornhub rep added: “Porhub 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.”

On Friday, NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof reported Pornhub’s “cheery, winking face of naughty” was undermined by the scores of child porn videos found on the site.

Kristof wrote:

“Yet there’s another side of the company: 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.

“After a 15-year-old girl went missing in Florida, her mother found her on Pornhub — in 58 sex videos. Sexual assaults on a 14-year-old California girl were posted on Pornhub and were reported to the authorities not by the company but by a classmate who saw the videos. In each case, offenders were arrested for the assaults, but Pornhub escaped responsibility for sharing the videos and profiting from them.”

Kristof’s story included the account of Serena Fleites, a 19-year-old woman who had her life turned upside down when naked videos she made at 14 ended up on Pornhub. Her life “imploded,” Kristof wrote, as classmates badgered and mocked her over the videos.

“People were texting me, if I didn’t send them a video, they were going to send them to my mom,” Fleites said.

Her mom ended up persuading Pornhub to remove the videos, but they were later re-uploaded to Pornhub and other porn sites. The torment led Fleites to transfer to a new school, but the rumors about the videos followed her there. As a result of the videos, Fleites began cutting herself and her relationship with her mother deteriorated. She now lives in her car in Fresno, California, with three dogs.

“It was one small thing that a teenager does, and it’s crazy how it turns into something so much bigger,” she told Kristof. “A whole life can be changed because of one little mistake.”

You can read the full story by clicking here.


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