EU Commission asks 3 major porn sites to give details on kids' protection measures under digital law

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission is asking three of the world’s biggest pornography sites to provide details of the measures they have taken to better protect minors from accessing their content and prevent gender-based violence.

The European Union's executive branch took the decision targeting Pornhub, XVideos and Stripchat under its trailblazing Digital Services Act, or DSA, which imposes a set of strict requirements designed to keep internet users safe online. Facing fines, the companies must provide information by July 4.

Pornhub, XVideos and Stripchat have been classed as “very large online platforms” subject to more stringent controls under the DSA because they each have 45 million average monthly users.

“The Commission is requesting the companies to provide more detailed information on the measures they have taken to diligently assess and mitigate risks related to the protection of minors online, as well as to prevent the amplification of illegal content and gender-based violence,” the European Commission said on Thursday.

The EU wants to find out what kind of safeguards have been implemented to guarantee that viewers are not underage. On most pornographic platforms, a mere click on a “yes” box saying the user is age 18 or over is enough to enter.

The European Commission is also asking the companies to explain how they have adapted their internal organization to comply with the DSA.

“The DSA indeed requires designated very large online platforms to equip themselves with independent and well-resourced internal teams with sufficient authority and resources, as well as access to the management body,” the European Commission said.

Pornhub last year 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.

France, Germany and Britain and U.S. states, including Utah and Texas, have drafted laws requiring porn sites to verify a user is 18 or older. Methods could include checking credit cards or government-issued ID or scanning faces to estimate ages, but all those systems have raised concerns about privacy and discrimination.

Europe’s digital law also calls for measures to curb the risk of spreading illegal content online, such as child sexual abuse material, or content that breaches “fundamental rights” like privacy, such as “nonconsensual” images or deepfake porn.