An article in the New York Times has ramifications for Pornhub, one of the largest porn platforms on the internet. Mastercard and Visa have now announced that their credit cards can no longer be used for payments on the website.

In the article, Pulitzer Prize winner Nicolas Kristof reported on women who were filmed naked or having sex as minors. Her videos would circulate on the platform to this day and continue to traumatize her. In addition, Kristof had compiled cases from videos in which allegedly minors or sleeping women are abused. As a result, the credit card companies announced that they would investigate the allegations made in the article. Now Mastercard said: “Our investigations of the past few days have shown that our standards are violated on their side, which prohibits illegal content.” The banks, which mediate between credit card companies and websites, have been instructed to block the use of Mastercard cards. Visa said it wanted to “root out” “illegal activity” in its own customer network. The third major credit card company, American Express, has long banned their cards from being used on porn websites.


On platforms like Pornhub, users can upload videos themselves. However, the number of films posted means that the operators often fail to filter out illegal and undesirable content. Pornhub now argues that sex workers who show legal stuff on the platform would get less money: “This news is devastating for the hundreds of thousands of models whose livelihood depends on our platform.”

The company had already rejected Kristof’s allegations at the weekend as “irresponsible and blatantly untrue”. On Wednesday, the platform had announced far-reaching changes. Only users who have verified themselves can upload files. In addition, Pornhub has abolished the download function. It led users to download problematic videos and then upload them again, even if the original was deleted.

Lawyer Carrie Goldberg noted on Twitter that the problem of illegal porn videos and “revenge porn”, which are mostly supposed to expose women, goes beyond porn platforms such as Pornhub. She represents victims of such videos and stated, “For every instance of an abuse video on Pornhub, I have 50 abuse videos, including child abuse, that are shared on Instagram and Facebook.” By networking their users, these platforms would also give people the opportunity to track down the victims from the videos and harass them personally.