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Visa, Mastercard freezing card use on Pornhub site amid allegations of illegal content

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WATCH: Public safety minister says he reached out to RCMP to offer support in response to Pornhub accusations – Dec 8, 2020

Visa and Mastercard say they are no longer allowing their cards to be used on Pornhub, a website owned by the Montreal-based company MindGeek, amid concerns about allegedly illegal material on the site.

The decisions from the major credit card companies come as Pornhub remains under fire following a report by the New York Times last week that alleged the website has videos of child sexual assaults and exploitations.

Read more: Pornhub pushes back against accusations that it allows child sexual abuse materials

Pornhub has rejected those allegations, saying the site has “zero tolerance for child sexual abuse materials” and that it has “a vast team” of moderators monitoring the content posted to the site.

Mastercard said in a statement, though, that an investigation by the company found evidence of “unlawful content.”

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“Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site,” the statement reads.

“As a result, and in accordance with our policies, we instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance. In addition, we continue to investigate potential illegal content on other websites to take the appropriate action.”

Mastercard added that it also plans to “continue to investigate potential illegal content on other websites.”

A spokesperson for Visa offered a statement expressing similar concerns.

“Given the allegations of illegal activity, Visa is suspending Pornhub’s acceptance privileges pending the completion of our ongoing investigation,” the statement said.

“We are instructing the financial institutions who serve MindGeek to suspend processing of payments through the Visa network.

“At Visa, we are vigilant in our efforts to stamp out illegal activity on our network, and we encourage our financial institution partners to regularly review their merchants’ compliance of our standards on this and other platforms.”

Pornhub denies there is illegal content on its site.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that the allegations are cause for concern.

“We are always extremely concerned with gender-based violence, with exploitation of minors, with child pornography,” Trudeau told reporters in a press conference.

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“We’re going to continue to work with police agencies and security agencies and all means possible to ensure that all Canadians are kept safe.”

—With files from The Canadian Press.