Mastercard tackles consent on porn sites, requires banks to certify material after distressing reports

Mastercard on Wednesday said it will be requiring banks to certify that sellers of adult material online have tools in place to monitor, block and remove illegal content.

The announcement comes after the credit card company announced in December that it was cutting financial ties with Pornhub, and Visa said it was temporarily suspending payments on the adult website after The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof published a disturbing Dec. 4 report detailing the abuse of minors and female victims on Pornhub including “child rapes, revenge pornography, spycam videos.”

“…Today, we’re taking an even more active stance against the potential for unauthorized and illegal adult content,” John Verdeschi, Mastercard’s senior vice president of Franchise Customer Engagement and Performance, said in a Thursday blog post. “This starts by ensuring there are strong content control measures on sites where our products are accepted.”

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Verdeschi added that the card company is extending its Specialty Merchant Registration requirements so that “banks that connect merchants to our network will need to certify that the seller of adult content has effective controls in place” in combat illegal content.

Banks will also be required to certify that sellers ensure documented consent, age and identity verification for those who appear in uploaded content, as well as those uploading material; a pre-publication content review process; a complaint resolution process for potential victims; and an appeals process for “any person” depicted in adult material who wants their content to be removed from a platform.

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Mastercard also announced new partnerships with the Internet Watch Foundation and We Protect Global Alliance.

Discover did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.

Laila Mickelwait, founder of the Traffickinghub movement to shut down Pornhub and founder/CEO of the Justice Defense Fund, applauded Mastercard’s announcement in a Wednesday tweet.

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“Today every pornography website in the world is cut off from Mastercard credit card processing if they do not verify the age and the meaningful consent of EVERY person in every sex video they publish,” she tweeted. “Today is history in the making for Big Porn victims.”

Mickelwait previously told Fox News that people have been “deceived” by the “very successful marketing campaigns” of porn websites like Pornhub, which she said has presented itself “to the world as some kind of socially responsible, cheeky, ethical porn company.”

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Pornhub said in a December statement to FOX Business that Unverified users banned from uploading content to the platform. The website implemented a number of changes to the platform’s policies in December after Kristof’s report circulated throughout the media.


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