In France, leading porn stars could be blocked soon. The cause ? French operators have filtered too much pornographic content intended for minors.
1/3 of 12 year olds
PornHub is the world’s leading provider of porn, the site hosts 130 million users every day. A considerable number, which nonetheless includes some minors. In 2017, an IFOP survey found that 63% of young men ages 13-17 had already browsed a porn site. A year later, in 2018, according to a survey by the OpinionWay institute, every third French child aged 12 said they had already been exposed to online pornography.
Access to this content is too easy and insufficiently monitored, which has resulted in an amendment to Articles 227-24 of the Criminal Code on the Law on Distribution and Trading in Regulated Content. It was April 23rd. From now on it is no longer sufficient to display a message in which the Internet user is asked with a single click to confirm that they are of legal age. However, nothing has really changed since then.
Orange and SFR on the dock
Two associations have appeared. E-Enfance and The voice of the child have decided to file a lawsuit against all French access providers who are guilty of not blocking adult websites and not verifying the ages of their visitors.
Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom or Free will therefore have to go to the Paris Court on Thursday 9 September to be held accountable for the resources used to make adult websites inaccessible to minors. We know that French law will result in an offense of three years imprisonment and a fine of € 75,000 if not respected.
Given the penalties that have been imposed, there is no doubt that the operators affected by the complaint will try to use dissuasive means to increase their monitoring of users. (We remember the speed with which YouTube responded upstream to Article 13 of the European Copyright Directive. Large platforms generally prefer to act upstream to avoid fines.)
As a result of this complaint, SFR, Orange and Free could request identity cards from internet users visiting pornographic websites or opt for facial recognition required in Australia. Whichever method is used, it could have a major impact on the use of pornographic sites. If these methods are daunting for minors, they can also be for adults who don’t want to be watched intensely while visiting a porn site.
OnlyFans and Tiktok watched
With democratization and access to applications like Tiktok, minors are more exposed (and younger and younger) to certain pornographic content. Last January, the Complémentquête magazine, broadcast on France 2, showed in a documentary called Tous toqués de tiktok the abuses of the lack of surveillance application in the face of certain videos!
This summer, it was the site that offers exclusive subscription content, OnlyFans, that led the conversation. Also known as the “Instagram of Porn”, the site gave protection for minors on Thursday 19th. Because when it comes to YouPorn, PornHub, xvideos or Tukif ink, OnlyFans would see thousands of minors pass by every day, with the latter buying and selling intimate content on the site, despite assurances that the platform’s age verification policy is monitored.
So there is still a long way to go for porn performers to curb this seemingly growing phenomenon.