Punters in Two American States Can’t Access Pornhub Anymore

Punters in Two American States Can’t Access Pornhub Anymore

Pornhub has officially pulled out of two more states, namely Mississippi and Virginia. As much as the latter state is “for lovers,” PornHub says it’s protesting the states’ recently-enacted age verification laws that create massive business and privacy issues for the porno site.

In a statement posted to Twitter late last week, Pornhub said it is “sorry to let our loyal visitors in these states down but we have opted to comply with the newly effective law in this way because it is ineffective and worse, will put both user privacy and children at risk.” The Virginia law went into effect Saturday, and now when Virginians try to access Pornhub they are shown a message from adult film star Cherie Deville saying that the site would remain closed “until a real solution is offered.”

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter

The popular porn site has already ixnayed services in Utah over similar age verification laws. Virginia’s and Mississippi’s laws require porn sites to verify users’ age beyond a simple checkmark of “Are You 18+?” Under these laws, users are supposed to provide porn sites with scans of government IDs. Pornhub has openly said this is a major privacy issue for both them and users. The site also complained about the states “not regulating the enforcement of these laws” which means “responsible platforms will follow the law, irresponsible platforms won’t.”

Pornhub has already begged its users to reach out to lawmakers to complain about the regulations. Instead, the company believes the best way to deal with underage porn viewing was to further incentivise parental control features on childrens’ devices.

Pornhub complained that in Louisiana where legislators passed a similar law last year their site saw an 80% decline in traffic. As TechDirt reported, the new state-based restrictions also impact other sites owned by parent company Ethical Capital Partners (which bought out previous owner MindGeek earlier this year) including RedTube, Brazzers, and Mofos.

Arkansas also has a similar law that went into effect back in March, though users in that state are still able to access their daily dose of adult content. As noted by the trade group Free Speech Coalition, the Texas and Montana governors signed their own age verification laws onto the books over the last few months, and those laws are expected to go into effect in September and January of next year, respectively.

Texas’ HB1181 law goes even further beyond what other states have decreed. Sites showing porn are now required to display health warnings that include lines like “Pornography is potentially biologically addictive, is proven to harm human brain development, desensitizes brain reward circuits, increases conditioned responses, and weakens brain function.” The warnings then claim that exposure to porn leads to “low self-esteem and body image, eating disorders, impaired brain development, and other emotional and mental illnesses.” Come September, Texas users will either see this message, or Deville offering a sober, corporate message about the problems with Texas’ obtuse tech policy. All in all, it’s nothing that regular Pornhub users are looking for.

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