Social media users could face age checks under new UK porn laws

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Social media users in the UK could be required to provide credit card or passport details to prove their age under proposed pornography laws.


Social media users in the UK could be required to provide credit card or passport details to prove their age as part of the government’s proposed pornography laws.
Twitter and Reddit are some of the few mainstream social media platforms that continue to show explicit adult material, and ministers are now saying that social networks “where a considerable quantity of pornographic material is accessible” will have to comply with the same age verification rules as porn sites.
This would mean Twitter and Reddit choosing to find a way to remove the adult content or verify that their users are over 18.
At the moment, neither sites have substantive age checks for adult material.
Facebook Instagram and Tumblr already have strict bans on pornography on their sites.
The proposed law will see users of the internet in the UK required to provide a form of identification – such as a driving licence or passport – to an age verification provider. Platforms that fail to do these checks could face fines of 10 per cent of their global revenue by Ofcom or even be blocked altogether by internet service providers.
Industry sources have said that the major porn sites fear what may happen if they comply with the age checks but smaller sites don’t.
Iain Corby of the Age Verification Providers Association said that if Ofcom enforced the policy poorly it would mean websites complying with the law would be punished: “You stop going to PornHub, then you go to XHamster, then you go to the next down the list. Whatever you think of those sites they do tend to have some standards. You are driving people to sketchier sites.”
Age verification on websites costs around 15-20p per person and it is estimated that approximately 20-25 million people in the UK access adult websites.
Pseudonymous sex blogger Girl on the Net said that the proposals may impact smaller websites: “The government proposes this every few years or so and it’s always unworkable, affecting smaller producers while benefiting bigger players in the market.”
Alastair Graham, the boss of age verification company AgeChecked, said: “Adult sites have no access to that personal information. The goal is to recognise an individual without knowing who they are.”
He argued that it is no longer acceptable for children to be able to access adult content: “Currently we’re doing nothing. Doing something to protect children, if not all children, has to be better than where we are now. The internet was designed by adults for adults.”


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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editori[email protected]

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