The Impact of New EU Rules on Pornhub and Online Content Providers

One of the biggest names in the world of online adult entertainment, Pornhub, is currently challenging new European Union regulations that have been put in place under the Digital Services Act (DSA). The new rules, which affect Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs), require stricter measures for age verification and content moderation. These regulations have significant implications not only for Pornhub but for the entire online content industry.

The dispute arises from the EU’s designation of Pornhub as a VLOP, which requires sites to have an average of over 45 million monthly users from European countries. However, Pornhub claims to have had only 32 million monthly active users as of January 2024, which falls short of the threshold. As a result, the company has filed a challenge with the EU’s General Court in Luxembourg to contest its VLOP status.

The DSA aims to provide better protections for individuals online and holds VLOPs accountable for diligent content moderation, including removing illegal content and providing transparency regarding advertisements. Failure to comply with the new regulations can result in fines of up to 6% of a company’s global turnover. The platforms are expected to submit detailed plans by April 20 outlining how they will address major risks such as violence against women and safeguarding minors.

In addition to the DSA, tech companies operating in the EU are also facing challenges under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which targets “gatekeepers” in the industry to promote competition. Apple, one of the designated gatekeepers, has already faced backlash for barring Epic Games from launching its own online marketplace on Apple devices in Europe.

The implications of these new regulations go beyond just Pornhub and other adult sites. They underscore the broader shift towards increased regulation of online content and platforms, with a focus on user protection and accountability. As the legal battles unfold and companies adapt to the changing landscape, it is crucial for online content providers to stay informed and compliant with the evolving regulatory framework to avoid potential fines and penalties.