Mastercard and Visa cut off payments to Pornhub

The Mastercard statement: “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…. we continue to investigate potential illegal content on other websites.”

— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) December 10, 2020

Earlier in the week, Pornhub said it would require users to verify their identity before uploading videos and that it would ban users’ ability to download videos. Pressure has mounted on the company after Kristof’s investigation found the company doesn’t do enough to prevent videos of sexual assault from appearing on its platform.

Mastercard and Visa both pledged to investigate their relationship with Pornhub parent company MindGeek after the article was published.

Update 12/10 5pm ET: Visa has also cut off Pornhub while it continues to investigate, the company said in a statement.

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. At Visa, we are vigilant in our efforts to stamp out illegal activity on our network, and we encourage our financial institution partners to regularly review their merchants’ compliance of our standards on this and other platforms.

Pornhub responded to the credit card companies’ actions, calling them “exceptionally disappointing.”

These actions are exceptionally disappointing, as they come just two days after Pornhub instituted the most far-reaching safeguards in user-generated platform history. Unverified users are now banned from uploading content — a policy no other platform has put in place, including Facebook, which reported 84 million instances of child sexual abuse material over the last three years. In comparison, the Internet Watch Foundation reported 118 incidents on Pornhub over the last three years.

This news is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods.