Three Big Porn Websites Must Verify User’s Age In EU

Three of the world’s biggest porn websites will now be forced to new rules in the European Union, including verifying the ages of users.

On Wednesday the European Commission adopted a second set of designation decisions under the Digital Services Act, designating three “Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs)”, namely Pornhub, Stripchat and Xvideos.

The Commission said that the designation is the result of its investigations, concluding that the three services fulfill the threshold of 45 million average monthly users in the EU.

European Parliament

VLOP designation

The Digital Services Act came into force in August 2023, and is designed to keep people safe online.

Under the DSA, any tech platform or search engine that has more than 45 million users per month in the EU, is classified as a very large online platforms (VLOP) or very large online search engines (VLOSE).

The new rules that cover everything from social media moderation to targeted advertising and even counterfeit goods in e-commerce.

However the DSA rules also includes provisions to protect children by preventing them from accessing pornographic content.

“VLOPs must design their services, including their interfaces, recommender systems, and terms and conditions, to address and prevent risks to the well-being of children,” said the Commission. “Mitigating measures to protect the rights of the child, and prevent minors from accessing pornographic content online, including with age verification tools.”

Breaches of the DSA could lead to a fine of 6 percent of turnover and potentially suspension of the service within the European Union.

Pornhub, XVideos and Stripchat are the first porn sites to be targeted by the sweeping DSA rules.

In April 2023, the European Commission had named its first set of VLOPs, naming 19 so called ‘Gatekeeper’ firms that included the likes of Google Search, Amazon Store, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Apple App Store and others.

Pornhub response

Pornhub told the Associated Press that it disputed its status as a very large online platform under the DSA, referring to a statement on its website saying it has 33 million average monthly users.

XVideos and Stripchat reportedly did not respond to requests for comment.

The European Union is not the only location to implement age verification for porn websites.

France, Germany and the UK, as well the US states of Utah and Texas have drafted laws requiring porn sites to verify a user is 18 or older.

Age verification methods could include face scanning, checking credit cards, or government-issued ID to confirm age, but all those systems have raised concerns about privacy and discrimination.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

Recent Posts

US SEC Seeks $5.3 Billion Fine From Terra’s Do Kwon

Financial regulator asks New York judge to impose $5.3 billion in fines against Terraform Labs…

39 mins ago

Microsoft Launches Smallest AI Model, Phi-3-mini

Lightweight artificial intelligence model launched this week by Microsoft, offering more cost-effective option for Azure…

4 hours ago

US Senate Passes TikTok Ban Or Divestment Bill

ByteDance protest falls on deaf ears, as Senate passes TikTok ban or divest bill, with…

6 hours ago

Raimondo Downplays Huawei Smartphone Chip

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo says Huawei's flagship smartphone chip 'years behind' US technology, shows…

1 day ago

Cloud Companies Reject Broadcom VMware Pricing Changes

Cloud companies, business user groups say Broadcom price changes do not address their concerns, as…

1 day ago

UK Lawsuit Claims Grindr Shared HIV Status

Dating app Grindr sued over claims it shared sensitive user data, including HIV status, with…

1 day ago