EU targets Pornhub, XVideos, Stripchat under new content rules

By Supantha Mukherjee

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -The European Union on Wednesday added three adult content companies – Pornhub, Stripchat and XVideos – to its list of firms subject to stringent regulations under new online content rules.

The new rules, known as the Digital Services Act (DSA), require companies to conduct risk management, undergo external and independent auditing, and share data with authorities and researchers.

In April, the EU designated five Alphabet subsidiaries, two Meta Platforms units, two Microsoft businesses, X and Alibaba’s AliExpress among 19 companies under the rules.

Such designated companies will have to do more to tackle disinformation, give more protection and choice to users and ensure stronger protection for children or risk fines of as much as 6% of their global turnover.

“Pornhub, Stripchat and XVideos meet the user thresholds to fall under stricter #DSA obligations,” the bloc’s industry chief Thierry Breton said. “Creating a safer online environment for our children is an enforcement priority under the DSA.”

While the big tech companies had user numbers exceeding the 45-million threshold needed to be designated as very large online platforms (VLOP), Canada-based Pornhub said it had 33 million average monthly users as of July 31, falling below the required level.

The designation can be based not only on the user numbers reported by the company, but also on information from third parties or alternative sources, a senior Commission official said.

The Commission can make the designation if it has reasonable certainty that such companies meet the threshold, added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

XVideos had earlier said it has 160 million uses in the EU. Stripchat claims to have over 500 million users globally.

XVideos and Stripchat did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Several governments such as Germany, France and the UK have tried to rein in the porn websites by pushing for localised regulations.

Within four months of the designation, Pornhub, XVideos and Stripchat will have to adopt measures to protect users online, including minors, and mitigate any systemic risks stemming from their services, the Commission said in a statement.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Bernadette Baum)