MasterCard investigating Pornhub over allegations of child sexual abuse content on site

MasterCard said on Sunday that it’s investigating allegations claiming the popular online pornography website Pornhub allows child sexual abuse materials on its site.

A statement from MasterCard, which currently allows payments for the site’s offerings, said it is working with the company’s Montreal-based parent firm Mindgeek to understand the situation.

The statement said MasterCard has zero tolerance for illegal activity on its network and works with law enforcement and other groups to detect and prevent illegal transactions.

Pornhub attracts billions of monthly visits for videos, some of which a New York Times investigation alleges involve child sexual assaults and exploitations. The column, written by Nicholas Kristof, described videos on Pornhub that the author said were recordings of assaults on unconscious women and girls.

“The issue is not pornography but rape. Let’s agree that promoting assaults on children or on anyone without consent is unconscionable,” Kristof wrote in the column published on Friday.

Kristof’s column also drew reactions from politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said his government was working with police and security officials to address the issues it raised.

Pornhub replied to the allegations on Friday, calling them irresponsible and flagrantly untrue and saying it has no tolerance for child sexual abuse materials on its site. 

In its response, Pornhub said it has a vast team of human moderators who manually review “every single upload,” as well as automated detection technologies. It did not say how many people were part of its review team.

MasterCard said if the claims are substantiated, it will take immediate action.

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