Mastercard Cuts off Payments to All Adult Sites Unless They Confirm Age and Consent of Video Participants

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Mastercard has made a huge step toward ending the profiting off of abuse and exploitation of women and children with a new policy requiring pornographic websites to confirm the age and consent of all participants in all content on their platforms.

As we reported late last year, both Mastercard and its competitor, Visa, ceased all payments to PornHub, the top adult site on the web, in light of damning reports that it had allowed videos of women and girls being sexually assaulted to be uploaded to its then-virtually unmoderated platform.

Now, Mastercard is leading the way to hold all adult sites to the basic standard of decency of moderating their content to ensure they are only platforming lawful activity.

The financial giant made the announcement in a blog post last week, outlining its new rules for banks that process payments for adult sites

“The banks that connect merchants to our network will need to certify that the seller of adult content has effective controls in place to monitor, block and, where necessary, take down all illegal content,” senior vice president John Verdeschi wrote in the blog.

Verdeschi also wrote:

You might ask, “Why now?” In the past few years, the ability to upload content to the internet has become easier than ever. All someone needs is a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection.

Now, our requirements address the risks associated with this activity. And that starts with strong content control measures and clear, unambiguous and documented consent.

Mastercard’s other updated requirements include, according to the post:

  • “Documented age and identity verification for all people depicted and those uploading the content”
  • “Content review process prior to publication”
  • “Complaint resolution process that addresses illegal or nonconsensual content within seven business days”
  • “Appeals process allowing for any person depicted to request their content be removed”

“The evolution of our registration programs is critical to ensure that we — as well as those who connect merchants to our network — understand who we are doing business with and what can be expected of their activities,” Verdeschi wrote.

“We’re committed to doing everything in our power to ensure only lawful activity takes place on our network,” he stated. “In the process, we also hope to improve content controls to benefit people with the greatest need for these protections.”

Laila Mickelwait, the founder of the Traffickinghub activist group dedicated to ending the “mass sex-trafficking and exploitation of women and minors,” lauded Mastercard for their policy changes.

Still, Mickelwait called on Visa, another behemoth in the financial industry, to follow Mastercard’s lead: “This is a huge step to prevent abuse. @Visa must follow. #Traffickinghub.”

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