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Where's Pornhub? Not Deep in the Heart of Texas


What's a horny Texan cowboy to do?

After a Federal appellate court upheld a Texas law requiring age verification on websites with adult contents, Pornhub has pulled access in the state. The court did strike down one portion of the law requiring porn sites to display "health warnings" about the content.

But, Variety reports, the porn giant instituted measures that deny access in the state.

"A new message displayed Thursday to users with internet addresses in Texas on Pornhub (and other sites operated by parent company Aylo) explained that it was disabling access to comply with the law, as first reported by the Houston Chronicle." Writes Variety.

"As you may know, your elected officials in Texas are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you access to our website. Not only does this impinge on the rights of adults to access protected speech, it fails strict scrutiny by employing the least effective and yet also most restrictive means of accomplishing Texas's stated purpose of allegedly protecting minors," the message reads in part.

The Pornhub sites' message continued, "Until the real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Texas. In doing so, we are complying with the law, as we always do, but hope that governments around the world will implement laws that actually protect the safety and security of users."

According to the message, "While safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission, providing identification every time you want to visit an adult platform is not an effective solution for protecting users online, and in fact, will put minors and your privacy at risk."

Variety adds that Pornhub called the Texas age-verification "ineffective, haphazard and dangerous" and asserted that it will drive users "from those few websites which comply, to the thousands of websites, with far fewer safety measures in place, which do not comply. Very few sites are able to compare to the robust Trust and Safety measures we currently have in place. To protect minors and user privacy, any legislation must be enforced against all platforms offering adult content.

The Texas law was signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2023 and was scheduled to go in effect on September 1, 2023, but was put on hold due to a lawsuit filed by the Free Speech Coalition (a group that includes Pornhub's parent company). This, Variety reports, resulted in a preliminary injunction staying its enforcement. The law applies to online publishers whose content is more than one-third "sexual material harmful to minors" and requires them to verify the age of all visitors using a government-issued ID or "public or private transactional data."

Variety reached out to Pornhub's parent company Aylo for comment and received a reply from Alex Kekesi, VP of brand and community at Aylo, which said in part: "This is not the end. We are reviewing options and consulting with our legal team... We will continue to fight for our industry and the performers that legally earn a living, and we will continue to appeal through all available judicial recourse to recognize that this law is unconstitutional."

Keksi added that Aylo "has publicly supported age verification of users for years, but we believe that any law to this effect must ensure minors do not access content intended for adults and preserve user safety and privacy. We believe that the real solution for protecting minors and adults alike is to verify users' ages at the point of access – the users' devices – and to deny or permit access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that verification."

Pornhub and the company's network of other sites are also blocked or restricted in at least seven other U.S. states – Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Virginia and Utah – which have adopted similar laws.

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