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EU Classifies Major Adult Websites as VLOPs Under Stricter DSA Regulations

EU Classifies Major Adult Websites as VLOPs Under Stricter DSA Regulations

The European Union has recently included several adult websites, including Pornhub, Stripchat, and XVideos, in its list of Very Large Online Platforms (VLOP) under the Digital Services Act (DSA). This classification, which already includes platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, imposes stricter regulations due to these sites having at least 45 million average monthly users in the EU.

Under the new regulations, effective February 17, these platforms must introduce user-friendly mechanisms for reporting illegal content, prioritize trusted flaggers’ notices, and explain content restrictions or removals clearly. They are also required to facilitate appeals against content-moderation decisions and promptly report any criminal activities posing threats to life or safety, including child sexual abuse.

The DSA mandates clear labeling of advertisements and prohibits targeted ads based on sensitive data profiling or aimed at minors. Additionally, these sites must publish annual transparency reports on their content moderation.

Significant changes include redesigning systems for enhanced privacy, security, and the safety of minors, possibly incorporating age-verification checks. They must also submit externally audited risk assessments, particularly focusing on the impact on minors’ mental and physical health.

Pornhub, however, contests its VLOP designation, claiming only 33 million average monthly EU users, below the 45 million threshold. The site has previously blocked access in Mississippi, Utah, and Virginia due to age-verification laws.

In the event that these websites fail to comply with the DSA regulations, it may lead to restricted access for EU users. This could potentially increase the use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) by EU residents seeking to bypass regional restrictions.