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Pornhub is blocking users from viewing its content in 5 more states due to age verification laws

The new states join seven others that the company has already blocked from using its site in the past year.
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Posted at 8:49 PM, Jun 20, 2024

Pornhub will soon be inaccessible to users in five more states that are introducing age verification laws on adult entertainment websites.

The company announced in a blog post that starting in July, it will block website access in Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Nebraska. This is in addition to the seven states it has already cut off from its site over the past year, which include Texas, Utah, Arkansas, Virginia, Montana, North Carolina and Mississippi.

The move comes as more states are passing age verification laws aimed at shielding kids from seeing online content meant for adults. These often require users to upload a government-issued ID to prove they are above the age of 18 before they can view the site.

And although done with good intent, the laws haven't been without controversy, particularly as some of the same states have said pornography is a public health crisis. Now many websites with content deemed "harmful to minors," like Pornhub, are choosing to reduce their traffic and block users rather than face the risks, such as hefty fines or criminal liability, that may come if a violation falls through the cracks.

Pornhub also said in its blog post that age verification presents a privacy issue and an increased risk for identity theft. Since users are submitting their personal information to adult sites across the web, the company said the door is open to risk of data breaches and increased opportunities for scammers to "exploit and extort" people using phishing attempts.

It also noted that although "safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission," other adult content sites that users will "inevitably end up on" can't say the same.

"Most other sites unfortunately do not take these same extensive measures towards community protection and without barrier to entry, is where viewers risk ending up," Pornhub's blog post read. "Therefore, these laws have not only failed at protecting minors but have introduced further harm by displacing traffic to sites with few or zero trust and safety measures."

The company agrees with the state lawmakers that age verification is a good process to make the internet safer — but only when done right. Pornhub says a better solution would be to protect "minors and adults alike" at the source: their device, which would only verify their age once through an operating system instead of a riskier online process.

Pornhub said it encourages members of its community to "stand up for your freedom to enjoy and consume porn privately" — an apparent nod to the First Amendment, which many companies argue is being violated by age verification laws — by being vocal about better solutions on social media and contacting local governments to adopt them.

"Don't give up!" the blog post said. "We know that normalizing sex work and sexual expression is an uphill battle, but it can be done. We must be vocal about it. Change begins with raising our voices, educating others, and engaging in these important conversations on our socials to spread the message."

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