from the war-on-porn-continues dept
Mastercard is in the process of killing off another way for sex workers to make money. Its updated policy on “illegal adult content” takes aim at a bunch of adult content that isn’t actually illegal. What the new policy does is make it impossible for streaming platforms to comply with the new rules. Since they’re not able to prescreen streamed content, they’re just going to start blocking anything that seems like it might lead to Mastercard pulling the plug.
This will hit sites like OnlyFans and MyFreeCams the hardest, as sex worker/advocate Mary Moody points out. But it will also cause collateral damage at streaming sites that aren’t able to comply with Mastercard‘s new demands and may start banning accounts and blocking streams if they suspect (without verifying) “adult content” might be offered.
Here’s what Mastercard is requiring from sites hosting content:
Documented age and identity verification for all people depicted and those uploading the content
Content review process prior to publication
Complaint resolution process that addresses illegal or nonconsensual content within seven business days
Appeals process allowing for any person depicted to request their content be removed
Some of these are steps that platforms should be taking already. But the second bullet point poses significant challenges. This “for the children” effort will harm adults who produce adult content — many who have never produced any content considered “illegal” under the First Amendment. Mastercard cites its partnership with several law enforcement agencies (as well as child porn clearinghouses like NCMEC) but doesn’t say why it feels all adult content should be subject to rules meant to prevent the streaming of illegal content.
In the absence of any meaningful efforts on Mastercard‘s part (this puts the onus on everyone else but the credit card company), a statement like this is meaningless:
We’re committed to doing everything in our power to ensure only lawful activity takes place on our network.
But Mastercard isn’t actually doing anything. It’s handing out more requirements for platforms that accept Mastercard payments, but that’s not actually doing something. That’s making a bunch of other people jump through impossible hoops under the threat of defunding. And it will cause damage to plenty of lawful activity.
Mastercard is free to choose who it does business with. But if it just wants to dump cam sites used by sex workers, it could at least come out and say that, rather than hide behind “for the children” platitudes as it makes it impossible for sites like this to host actually legal content. This is just more anti-porn crusading that willfully lumps child porn and revenge porn in with legal content created by adults. Then Mastercard makes it impossible for platforms to comply without cutting off a majority of their user base.
Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.
Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.
While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.
–The Techdirt Team
Filed Under: infrastructure, payments, sex work, streaming sites
Companies: mastercard, onlyfans