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Visa and Mastercard cut off Pornhub after report of unlawful videos

Report alleged Pornhub hosts assault and underage videos

Mastercard And Visa Photo Illustrations Photo by Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto / Getty Images

Visa and Mastercard will stop processing payments on Pornhub following a report that found unlawful content on the site. Reuters reported that Mastercard will end support for Pornhub after confirming the presence of “unlawful content.” Visa said its own investigation is ongoing, but it will suspend payment processing for the time being. The decisions come as Pornhub is making substantial changes to how it moderates content.

“Today, the use of our cards at Pornhub is being terminated. Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site,” Mastercard spokesperson Seth Eisen tells The Verge. “As a result, and in accordance with our policies, we instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance. In addition, we continue to investigate potential illegal content on other websites to take the appropriate action.”

Pornhub finds the cutoffs “exceptionally disappointing, as they come just two days after Pornhub instituted the most far-reaching safeguards in user-generated platform history,” a spokesperson tells The Verge. “This news is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods.”

Pornhub came under fire after The New York Times reported finding nonconsensual pornography, recordings of assault, and videos of underage girls on the site. The company called claims that it allows child sexual abuse material “irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.” Soon after, however, Pornhub banned uploads by unidentified users and blocked downloading videos from the site.

Payment processing giants Visa and Mastercard confirmed earlier this week that they were conducting independent investigations of Pornhub content. “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,” Mastercard told The New York Times. Visa said that it was “actively engaging with the relevant financial institutions,” as well as Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek. Now, both companies have taken action.

Update December 10th, 5:45PM ET: Visa has now suspended Pornhub, too. This story has been updated to reflect the announcement, and a statement from Pornhub has been added.