Pornhub Blocks Access in Texas Amid Age-Verification Law Dispute

March 14, 2024
Pornhub | Report Focus News

In a significant move that has stirred debate over internet freedom and child protection, Pornhub and its sister sites, managed by parent company Aylo, have ceased services for users in Texas. This drastic step comes in the wake of a contentious legal battle concerning a new age-verification law enforced by the Lone Star State.

A federal appeals court recently upheld the Texas statute, demanding that pornography websites implement stringent age-verification processes to ensure viewers are 18 or older. While part of the law mandating “health warnings” on such sites was overturned, the core requirement for age verification remains unchallenged.

Responding to the enforcement of the law, Pornhub displayed a new message to its Texas users, explaining the decision to disable access within the state. The message criticized the law for infringing on adult rights to access protected speech and questioned the effectiveness and restrictive nature of the mandated age-verification measures.

Pornhub’s stance emphasizes user safety and compliance but argues that requiring identification for every visit to an adult platform is not a practical solution for protecting users online. The company advocates for a device-based age verification system as the only effective way to safeguard both minors and adults.

The law, signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott in June 2023 and set to be implemented from September 1, has been temporarily stayed following a lawsuit by the Free Speech Coalition, which counts Aylo among its members. The legislation targets online publishers of content deemed “sexual material harmful to minors” and demands age verification through government-issued ID or transactional data.

This regulation is part of a broader trend, with similar laws already in place in several other states, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Virginia, and Utah. Pornhub and Aylo have not yet responded to requests for additional comments on the matter.

Aylo, owned by Canadian private-equity firm Ethical Capital Partners, which acquired Pornhub’s predecessor company MindGeek, has been vocal about its commitment to user safety and combating illegal online content, amid growing global scrutiny over digital content regulation and child protection online.