Pornhub website logo. / Kate Krav-Rude/Shutterstock

CNA Staff, Dec 22, 2023 / 10:35 am (CNA).

The European Union (EU) this week announced that Pornhub, along with two other high-traffic pornography sites, must comply with major age verification and safety laws passed last year by the governing body. 

The European Commission, which proposes and enforces laws for the EU, said in a press release that it had designated Pornhub a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP), rendering it bound by certain enhanced provisions of the 2022 Digital Services Act (DSA). 

The ruling means that Pornhub will have to “adopt specific measures to empower and protect users online, including minors” on its website. Those measures include “age verification tools” and mitigation measures to “address risks linked to the dissemination of illegal content online,” including child pornography.

The Commission noted that “all online platforms” in the EU must “provide user-friendly mechanisms to allow users or entities to notify illegal content,” “promptly inform law enforcement authorities” of illegal material on their sites, “redesign their systems to ensure a high level of privacy, security, and safety of minors,” and implement numerous other safety rules and content restrictions. 

Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said in the release that the Commission has “already designated 19 Very Large Online Platforms and Search Engines.”

“We will continue to designate platforms that meet the thresholds and make sure that they comply with their obligations under the DSA,” he said. 

Porn sites Stripchat and XVideos were also designated as VLOPs, the Commission said. 

Pornhub, which is among the most-visited websites in the world, has for years been the target of critics and activists who argue that it promotes and shares illegal content, including child sexual abuse, on its servers. 

Lawmakers in the U.S. have recently begun targeting the site with stronger safety regulations. Laws in multiple states that require age verification for users of pornography sites led Pornhub to stop streaming its graphic sexual videos in those states earlier this year. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said on Thursday that Pornhub’s parent company, Aylo, had admitted to “receiving proceeds of sex trafficking” and agreed to the appointment of an independent monitor who for a three-year period will oversee “the robustness of the company’s content screening and monitoring processes” and its compliance with illegal content disclosures laws.

Last year, Pope Francis called pornography “a permanent attack on the dignity of men and women,” arguing that it “is not only a matter of protecting children — an urgent task of the authorities and all of us — but also of declaring pornography a threat to public health.”

The European Commission said this week that it “will be responsible for supervising Pornhub, Stripchat and XVideos” for compliance with the new ruling.

“The Commission services will carefully monitor the compliance with the DSA obligations by these platforms, especially concerning the measures to protect minors from harmful content and to address the dissemination of illegal content,” the Commission said. 

Join Our Free Mailing List

You can unsubscribe at any time. For more detail see our Privacy Policy.