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Visa and Mastercard to Examine Monetary Ties to Pornhub

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Visa and Mastercard, the giant payment processing companies, said they were investigating their financial ties to MindGeek, the parent company of adult website Pornhub, after New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof reported that the website and not videos were about child abuse Contained consensual sexual violence.

Visa said in a statement that it is “actively working with relevant financial institutions” and with MindGeek to investigate the allegations.

Visa, which works with 61 million merchants and moves nearly $ 12 trillion in money through the financial system in one year, said it was “vigilant” about removing companies engaged in illegal activities from its network. Banks act as intermediaries between payment companies like Visa and Mastercard and corporations.

“If the site is found to be inconsistent with applicable laws or financial institutions’ policies and signing standards for acceptable use, they will no longer be able to accept Visa payments,” the statement said.

Mastercard also said it is investigating the allegations against Pornhub with MindGeeks Bank. “If the allegations are well founded, we will take immediate action,” Mastercard said in a statement. “If we discover illegal activity, our policy is to ask the acquirer to end the relationship unless there is an effective compliance plan in place.”

Nearly seven million videos are posted on Pornhub each year, and while the vast majority of them are likely to be consensual acts, many don’t, Mr Kristof wrote. He reported that videos were found on the website of teenage girls who were victims of assault and human trafficking. “In each case, criminals have been arrested for the attacks, but Pornhub has evaded its responsibility to share and benefit from the videos,” wrote Kristof.

Pornhub denied the allegations, saying it was “clearly committed to combating child sexual abuse and has put in place a comprehensive, industry-leading trust and security policy to identify and eradicate illegal material from our community.”

Some other payment companies do not allow their services to be used on adult content websites. American Express has a policy against the use of its “adult digital content” cards.

And PayPal “prohibits all account holders from buying or selling sexually oriented digital goods,” including videos, pictures, and subscriptions. Last year PayPal banned Pornhub and video providers on the site from making and accepting payments through PayPal. After that, Pornhub added new payment options, including Tether, a blockchain-based cryptocurrency.

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Robert Dunfee