Technology

Porn hub challenges EU over online content rules

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By Shiona McCallum & Chris Vallance

Technology reporters

One of the world’s most popular pornography websites, Porn hub, is contesting new EU rules.

Porn hub is facing new obligations under the Digital Services Act (DSA), including strict requirements on age verification.

The new rules apply to what the EU designates a Very large Online Platform (VLOP) – which Porn hub says it is not.

“We believe the European Commission erred in its calculation of our user numbers”, the firm said.

The challenge was filed to the EU’s General Court in Luxembourg on March 1 for Porn hub by its owner, the Canada-based Aylo.

Technius, the parent firm of another adult site, Strip chat, has also registered a case, as has Web Group Czech Republic, which operates XVideos.

To be designated a VLOP, a site needs to be visited by more than 45 million Europeans on average every month – a threshold the EU says Porn hub meets.

But Aylo says as of January 31, 2024, Porn hub had 32 million monthly active users – so it is filing an application to have its VLOP status annulled. It said it looked forward to the facts “being fully and fairly aired” in court.

 

Stricter rules

The DSA aims to give people in the EU greater protections online, with VLOPs facing what the European Commission calls more “diligent content moderation.”

Among its measures are new responsibilities to take down illegal content, such as non-consensual videos. Sites can also be asked to have a publicly accessible database of advertisements – a requirement Aylo says it considers “illegal”.

The platforms are expected to give detailed plans by April 20 about how they limit major risks like violence against women and protection of minors.

Breaching the new law can lead to fines of up to 6% of a company’s global turnover.

The websites’ owners had until this month to contest the decisions.

Legal clashes

The DSA is not only the piece of European legislation causing tech companies headaches.

From Thursday, six big firms – designated “gatekeepers” by the EU – face new responsibilities under the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

But one of them, Apple, has already run into controversy. It has barred Fortnite-maker, Epic Games, from launching its own online marketplace on iPhones and iPads in Europe.

One of the DMA’s objectives is to open up big tech app stores to more competition.

The EU says it will now question Apple about its decision.

SOURCE: BBC NEWS