Paxton Settles Chaturbate Verification Lawsuit

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton | Image by Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images

Attorney General Ken Paxton has successfully reached a legal settlement with Multi Media LLC, operator of the popular pornography website Chaturbate, ensuring compliance with Texas age verification laws.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the settlement follows a lawsuit filed by Paxton’s office against the company for failing to implement adequate age verification measures, as mandated by HB 1181. The law came into effect last November and slaps hefty fines on those who fail to abide by it.

Chaturbate stands as one of the most frequented pornography platforms on the internet, drawing millions of users globally. In March, the site saw nearly as much traffic as Zoom and more than Home Depot, according to data from Semrush.

However, its prominence did not exempt it from Texas regulations aimed at safeguarding minors from exposure to explicit content online.

The initial dispute arose when Paxton initiated legal action against Chaturbate and its parent company on March 19, citing violations of Texas law. HB 1181 requires commercial pornography websites — defined as any platform hosting material that is over 33% sexually explicit — to establish “reasonable age verification methods” to block minors’ access.

In a recent news release, Paxton’s office emphasized the gravity of non-compliance, stating that companies failing to adhere to age verification requirements could face fines of up to $10,000 per day. Furthermore, additional penalties could be imposed if corporations unlawfully retain user data or if minors are exposed to pornographic content due to inadequate age verification.

The lawsuit against Chaturbate is part of a broader crackdown on pornography companies operating in violation of Texas law. As reported by The Dallas Express earlier this year, Paxton targeted other major players in the industry, including Hammy Media and Aylo Global, for similar offenses.

The settlement reached with Multi Media last week includes a substantial financial penalty, with the company ordered to pay $675,000 to the state of Texas for its failure to implement effective age verification measures.

To get into compliance with the law, Chaturbate has begun using a third-party age verification software, according to Chron. Users attempting to access the pornographic site are redirected to Incode, where they are must upload a government-issued ID before they can continue.

Per reporting by Chron, one point Pornhub had argued was that age verification systems would violate users’ privacy, as they would be required to store sensitive personal identification information online. Further, some tech experts have claimed maintaining such loci of data would attract hackers.

Neither Chaturbate nor its parent company appear to have publicly commented on the settlement. Paxton hailed the agreement as a significant step towards safeguarding Texas children from exposure to harmful material online.

“It’s a very positive development that this company has decided to follow the law and begin reasonable age verification measures,” he remarked in a press release.

The attorney general urged other pornography companies to take note of the settlement and voluntarily comply with Texas regulations.

“Other pornography companies should follow this example and willingly choose to do the right thing and abide by the law,” he continued, reiterating the state’s commitment to enforcing legislation designed to protect vulnerable populations.

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