Visa and Mastercard cut off Pornhub after report of unlawful videos

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 that 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.”

Given the allegations of illegal activity, Visa is suspending Pornhub’s acceptance privileges pending the completion of our ongoing investigation. We are instructing the financial institutions who serve MindGeek to suspend processing of payments through the Visa network.

— VisaNews (@VisaNews) December 10, 2020

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.

Update December 10th, 4:49PM ET: Visa has now suspended Pornhub, too. This story has been updated to reflect the announcement.

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