Mastercard snaps ties with Pornhub, Visa suspends association pending investigation on unlawful content


Credit card giant Mastercard has announced that it had ended the use of its cards by users on adult website Pornhub in light of revelations that the latter carried unlawful content. Another globally renowned credit card company, Visa too has said that it has suspended the use of its card on Pornhub pending the outcome of its own investigation.

The decision by Mastercard came after Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof wrote in New York Times raising questions as to why search engines, banks or credit card companies should ‘bolster’ Pornhub. Following the publication of the article by Kristof in the NYT, Mastercard had launched its own probe on the allegations that Pornhub routinely carried child-abuse and rape-related videos.

A statement from Mastercard said that its investigation ‘over the past several days’ confirmed violations of its ‘standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site’ adding that it had ‘instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance.’

The statement read, “Today, the use of our cards at Pornhub is being terminated. Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content…. we continue to investigate potential illegal content on other websites.”

Kristof took to Twitter to write, “.@Mastercard has just advised me that it has confirmed the presence of illegal material on Pornhub, so it is immediately ending Mastercard use on Pornhub. It will also address the issue on other websites. This wouldn’t have happened without survivors bravely speaking up.”

Pornhub’s parent company, according to a report by the BBC, said that the article published in the NYT was ‘irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.’ The company was quoted as saying, “The news (on Mastercard’s action) is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods.”

Pornhub is banned in India, but users in other parts of the world can access it free. However, they have to pay around Rs. 1,000 for high-quality porn videos.