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Pornhub: Mastercard reviews links with pornography site

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Payments giant Mastercard is reviewing its business with pornography platform Pornhub, following allegations published by the New York Times.

Pornhub parent company MindGeek has denied Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof’s claims he found multiple videos featuring child sex abuse, “revenge porn” and rape.

Mastercard rival Visa is now also investigating, according to Sky News.

MindGeek said the claims were “irresponsible and flagrantly untrue”.

Publicly viewable

Mastercard responded after Kristof named it, saying he “didn’t see why search engines, banks or credit-card companies” should “bolster” Pornhub.

Pornhub is free to use but users can pay £9.99 a month for higher-quality video streams and advert-free and exclusive content.

Its content is largely uploaded by its own community and publicly viewable. 

But the company said every video uploaded was reviewed by human moderators.

‘Under-age’ videos

In its most recent annual review, the platform said it had had 42 billion site visitors in 2019 and more than 6.83 million videos had been uploaded, with a combined viewing time of 169 years.

But it did not say how many moderators it employed.

Kristof claimed searches for “under-age” videos yielded many results and while not all featured children, some appeared to.

Pornhub said it had “zero tolerance” for child sexual abuse and used a combination of tools from Google, YouTube and Microsoft to help it detect and remove illegal material.

Earlier this year, BBC News told the story of Rose Kalemba, who was raped at the age of 14 and then had to struggle to have a video of the attack removed from Pornhub.

Pornhub responded it had been under different ownership at the time, in 2009, and now had “the industry’s most stringent safeguards and policies” in place to combat illegal content.