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Mastercard investigating business ties with Pornhub over allegations of rape and child abuse material on its site



Credit card company, Mastercard is investigating allegations against pornography site, Pornhub, after a New York Times column on Friday December 4, accused the porn site of hosting videos on its platform that depict child abuse and nonconsensual sexual behavior.

The investigation comes after a NewYork Times’ column, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof, described recordings on Pornhub’s website of assaults of unconscious women and girls, including a naked video of a 14-year-old girl.

In his column, Kristof wrote that Pornhub allows videos to be downloaded directly from its site, which makes it possible for illegal content to spread and be reuploaded to the internet even after it’s been taken down.

Pornhub denied the allegations, stating that any claim it allows child sex abuse material (CSAM) on its platform is “irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.”

“Due to the nature of our industry, people’s preconceived notions of Pornhub’s values and processes often differ from reality — but it is counterproductive to ignore the facts regarding a subject as serious as CSAM, ” Pornhub said in a statement to CNN Business.

“We have zero tolerance for CSAM. Pornhub is unequivocally committed to combating CSAM, and has instituted an industry-leading trust and safety policy to identify and eradicate illegal material from our community.”

Mastercard which accepts payments on the website, said on Sunday night, December 6, it has “zero tolerance for illegal activity” on its network and that it works closely with law enforcement and organizations such as the National and International Center for Missing and Exploited Children to detect and prevent those types of transactions.

“We are investigating the allegations raised in the New York Times and are working with [Pornhub parent company] MindGeek’s bank to understand this situation, in addition to the other steps they have already taken. If the claims are substantiated, we will take immediate action,” Mastercard (MA) said in a statement to CNN Business.

“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.”

Many activists in recent times have called on credit card companies to stop Credit card payments on pornographic websites, saying it aids illegal activity.

In a tweet in response to the Times’ column, billionaire Bill Ackman called for card companies to either withhold payments or withdraw ties with Pornhub until the allegations are verified.

Amex, VISA and MasterCard should immediately withhold payments or withdraw until this is fixed. PayPal has already done so. Owners of these sites should be criminally prosecuted if this continues.” Bill wrote.

Financial service company American Express prohibits its cards from being accepted on Pornhub, citing a longstanding policy that prohibits cards from being used on digital adult content sites.

Visa credit card company said it is aware of the allegations and is “actively engaging with the relevant financial institutions to investigate, in addition to engaging directly with the site’s parent company, MindGeek.”

“If the site is identified as not complying with applicable laws or the financial institutions’ acceptable use policies and underwriting standards they will no longer be able to accept Visa payments”