Aug 9, 2023 - News

Pornhub cuts Arkansas' access in protest of age verification law

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Pornhub blocked access in Arkansas, citing a new state law requiring websites with adult content to verify a user's age before allowing them to view the platforms.

State of play: now opens on devices in the state with a message that states the company has "made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Arkansas."

  • Above the statement, users can choose to watch a video of a clothed adult actor urging people to make their opposition to the law known to their elected representatives.

Driving the news: The state's age verification measure, passed by lawmakers in April, took effect Aug. 1.

Catch up quick: The law, also called the Protection of Minors from Distribution of Harmful Material Act, requires either a website or a third-party vendor to verify a user is 18 or older from "all of the data elements visible on the face and back of a license or identification card" each time they try to access the site.

  • Companies that don't comply will be liable if they're sued because a minor accessed their content.
  • The law bans companies or vendors from keeping the data after access is granted.

Zoom out: Pornhub's owner, MindGeek, put the same message on its other sites, including Brazzers, YouPorn and Redtube.

  • The company blocked access in Utah, Mississippi and Virginia after similar laws went into effect.

What they're saying: "Responses from some of the pornographic websites are wonderful," Sen. Tyler Dees (R-Siloam Springs), lead sponsor of the Arkansas bill, told Axios.

  • "I'm so thankful that they've just decided to turn off. If at the end of the day, all we get is a few of these sites being turned off … I can tell you, our state's better off."

Meanwhile, Act 689, a similar law requiring social media companies to verify a user is at least 18, will take effect Sept. 1. Dees also led that bill.

  • The measure is being challenged in federal court by a trade organization representing social media companies.
  • The group claims the law violates the First Amendment rights of internet users and could put private information at risk.

Go deeper: Arkansas tops in searches for help changing VPNs


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios NW Arkansas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More NW Arkansas stories

No stories could be found

NW Arkansaspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios NW Arkansas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more