“PornHub Restricts Texas Access Due to Age Verification Law”

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TL/DR –

Adult content website, Pornhub, has suspended its services in Texas due to a recently upheld age verification law that requires users to prove their age, a move the site argues infringes on First Amendment rights. Pornhub’s parent company, Aylo, was among the plaintiffs arguing against the law, stating that it is ineffective, unfair, and could potentially reduce content creators’ capacity to distribute legal adult content. Texas is among eight states that have implemented such age verification laws, and Pornhub has confirmed it has blocked access in several of these states, including Virginia, Montana, North Carolina, Arkansas, Utah, Mississippi, and now Texas.


Online Adult Content Access Restricted in Texas

Texans seeking online adult content faced a setback as Pornhub, one of the world’s most popular websites, suspended services due to an objection to the state’s age verification law, citing a violation of First Amendment rights. The site had previously opposed such measures in other states, criticizing them as ineffective and unfair.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton hailed the decision as a victory over adult content companies, denying any violation of free speech laws. However, free speech advocates warn against potential weaponization of such laws to censor diverse content, such as reproductive rights resources and queer literature.

Texas’s Age Verification Law Explained

In June, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed H.B. 1181, mandating companies offering “sexual material harmful to minors” to verify user age. Companies must ensure that users are at least 18 by checking a government-issued ID or verifying age through a third-party system using personal data.

The law also required a controversial health warning on adult sites, which critics dismissed as pseudoscientific. The 5th Circuit upheld the age verification requirement, but struck down the health warning clause as an unconstitutional imposition on free speech.

Why Pornhub Blocked Access in Texas

Following the court’s ruling, Pornhub and its subsidiaries restricted access in Texas to protest the law, which it labelled as”ineffective, haphazard, and dangerous”. An executive from Aylo, Pornhub’s parent company, argued that the law is overbroad and fails to protect children effectively.

Pornhub warned that without proper enforcement, age verification laws could drive users to sites with fewer safeguards. The company plans to appeal the ruling.

Other States with Similar Age Verification Laws

Eight states have implemented age verification laws limiting minors’ access to certain content. Conservative states have pursued these laws as part of a broader anti-porn agenda, declaring pornography a public health crisis. Since 2016, at least 17 states, starting with Utah, have made such declarations.

A 2019 study cautioned against these declarations, arguing that they lack evidence and may be counterproductive. Meanwhile, Pornhub has confirmed blocking access in several states, including Virginia, Montana, North Carolina, Arkansas, Utah, Mississippi, and now Texas.

Efforts to regulate online adult content began nearly 30 years ago, with Supreme Court rulings affirming that child protection laws cannot infringe upon adult rights. Adult content sites, including Pornhub, advocate for measures such as browser extensions or device filters installed by parents as more effective solutions.

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