Pornhub blocks Montana and North Carolina as their age verification laws take effect

The website says the states' ID requirement would put users' privacy at risk.

Ethan Miller via Getty Images

In the US, Montana and North Carolina have been leading the list of states with the highest number of searches for "VPN" over the past few days. That's most likely because their new age verification laws have gone into effect on January 1, and adult websites are now either requiring a copy of visitors' government IDs or have blocked access in the regions altogether. As 404Media reports, Pornhub has chosen to block people in both states from accessing its website instead of asking for verification. The other websites owned by its parent company Aylo (formerly MindGeek), including Brazzers, Redtube and YouPorn, are also no longer accessible.

If anybody in Montana and North Carolina tries to access an Aylo website, they'll see a video message from performer Cherie DeVille, explaining that giving a copy of their ID to adult platforms puts their children and their privacy at risk. "We believe that the best and most effective solution for protecting children and adults alike is to identify users by their device and allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that identification," DeVille added.

That's the same video message users from other states with similar age verification laws see when they visit Pornhub. Montana and North Carolina are but the latest states to require adult platforms to verify visitors' ages: Louisiana started the trend in early 2023, and since then, Utah, Arkansas, Mississippi, Virginia and Texas have passed their own versions. In North Carolina's case, the rule was approved as part of legislation that requires high school students to take computer science classes.

Other adult websites not owned by Aylo are using third-party providers to authenticate users' ages in lieu of blocking whole regions altogether. Pornhub uses Louisiana's digital driver's license wallet app to verify local users' identities, but not all states have ID apps that work with its system. The website told us that its traffic in Louisiana dropped by 80 percent when the state started enforcing its age verification law. That makes this new development another potential blow to Aylo after it was slapped with a $1.8 million fine in December for hosting and profiting from pornographic content that featured sex trafficking victims.