New EU Regulations Impact Pornhub, XVideos, and Stripchat: What You Need to Know

News: In a significant move, European Union officials have enforced stringent safety regulations on major adult content platforms such as Pornhub, XVideos, and Stripchat. Let’s delve into the details of these new measures set by the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the implications for these Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs).

Meeting the VLOP Criteria

The European Commission, in a recent press release, officially classified Pornhub, XVideos, and Stripchat as VLOPs, citing their substantial user base of 45 million average monthly users in the EU. These platforms are now mandated to adhere to the DSA regulations, with a deadline set for compliance by February 2024.

Age Verification Takes Center Stage

One of the key obligations imposed on these VLOPs is the rigorous verification of user ages. The DSA requires these platforms to implement robust age verification processes to ensure compliance with the new regulations. This move aims to address concerns related to the accessibility of explicit content by underage users.

Mitigating Illegal Content Spread

Apart from age verification, being designated as VLOPs also necessitates these platforms to conduct comprehensive risk assessments. The focus is on minimizing the dissemination of illegal content, including materials related to child sexual abuse and deepfake pornography. Transparency measures, such as external audits and the publication of content moderation decisions, are now part of their compliance requirements.

Endorsing Scrutiny and Accountability

Margrethe Vestager, a prominent figure in the EU, welcomed the designation of Pornhub, XVideos, and Stripchat as VLOPs. She emphasized that this move would facilitate heightened scrutiny and accountability for the algorithms and processes employed by these platforms.

Discrepancies in Reported User Numbers

The controversy surrounding reported user numbers adds another layer to this development. While XVideos claims a staggering 160 million monthly recipients in the EU, Pornhub’s self-reported figure of 33 million monthly users is now questioned by the EU. Transparency issues regarding user numbers have been a focal point, with advocacy groups urging stricter designations for major pornography platforms.

Global Efforts for Age Verification

The EU’s move aligns with global efforts to enforce stricter age verification measures for adult content platforms. Several US states have initiated age-gating attempts with varying degrees of success. Within the EU, countries like France and Germany have pushed for national regulations, and the UK is advancing its own age verification measures following the Online Safety Act.

DSA Rules for All Online Platforms

While VLOPs face the strictest DSA regulations, it’s essential to note that all online platforms and search engines must comply with a general set of rules. These include providing mechanisms for reporting illegal content and avoiding targeted advertising based on sensitive data profiling.

Numerous companies, including Amazon and Zalando, from the initial list of VLOPs, have challenged their designations. Legal battles are underway as these companies contest the criteria defining a Very Large Online Platform. As the DSA continues to be enforced, EU regulators are actively pursuing inquiries into major platforms’ handling of illegal content, indicating a commitment to upholding the new rules.

In conclusion, the recent designation of Pornhub, XVideos, and Stripchat as VLOPs marks a significant step in regulating online platforms. The impact of these regulations extends beyond age verification, influencing transparency, accountability, and the overall approach to content moderation in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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