Pornhub partners with UK charity to combat child abuse

Aylo, Pornhub’s parent company, has endorsed new standards for combating child abuse on pornography sites, created by the UK charity Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). The IWF plays a vital role in the UK’s fight against online child sexual abuse material (CSAM), providing a platform for reporting suspected abuse content.

The announcement aims to encourage other porn websites to adopt these voluntary standards, developed over 18 months in collaboration with Aylo. However, campaigners have expressed that success hinges on actual change.

The standards require porn sites to ensure users are over 18, which could be as simple as a declaration but will soon need more rigorous checks, like AI face-scanning, under the UK Online Safety Act. Despite Aylo’s previous resistance to age verification laws, they now commit to legal compliance. Aylo argues that site-level age checks can push users to less regulated parts of the internet, creating privacy issues and exposing them to harmful material. They advocate for government-mandated parental controls instead.

The IWF will provide tools, expertise, and technology to companies adopting the new standards. These include legal compliance, AI age verification for those in uploaded content, consent verification, and checks against known child abuse imagery. An independent auditor will assess compliance.

Baroness Gabrielle Bertin, leading a government review of pornography, supports these measures as significant steps towards children’s online safety. Yet, campaigners, including Elena Michael from Notyourporn, emphasize the need for genuine action over superficial compliance.

Aylo, previously Mindgeek, has faced numerous allegations regarding non-consensual content but claims improvements in its moderation processes. The IWF reports a decline in CSAM on Aylo sites, crediting new safeguards and expanded moderation. However, skepticism remains, as some, like lawyer Michael Bowe, question the company’s commitment to effective moderation.