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French regulator threatens to block porn sites for failure to protect minors

By RFI
France CC0 PixabayPexels
APR 27, 2022 LISTEN
CC0 Pixabay/Pexels

French media watchdog Arcom has ordered pornographic websites YouPorn and RedTube to block access to children – or face a court order to have their services shut down.

The move was made public Wednesday in JORF, the Official Journal of the French Republic, which publishes major legal information from the French government.

It comes a month after the regulator took legal action to block five porn sites – Pornhub, Tukif, Xhamster, Xvideos and Xnxx – also accused of being too easily accessible to minors.

The exposure of pornographic photos and videos to minors is banned under a French domestic violence law passed in July 2020.

The legislation specifies that companies may not exonerate themselves of responsibility simply by asking the internet user if they are of age.  

 In its formal notice, Arcom said YouPorn and RedTube, both high-traffic sites, were accessible with the click of a button confirming a person is over 18 years old.

"This measure does not guarantee that only an adult public can access the pornographic content,” Arcom said.

The regulator added that in early March it had asked MG Freesites, the Cyprus-based company that publishes YouPorn and RedTube, for clarifications on these breaches.   

After judging its response to be unacceptable, Arcom has now given two sites 15 days to comply with French law.   

Failure to do so may once again see the matter referred to the courts.

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