Porn ban: Twitter, Reddit and Imgur can still show adult videos without age ID checks

Some websites avoid block and let people still watch pornography online for free without VPN

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 18 April 2019 16:30
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UK announces new porn ban coming into effect in July

The UK government's plan to prevent children and teenagers from viewing pornographic content online has a major flaw that means not all porn will be blocked.

Critics have called the so-called porn ban "disastrous" for people's privacy, as it will require people to share their personal data online in order to visit porn sites.

But the new rules, which come into effect on 15 July, can be skirted by visiting sites that are not subject to the age verification checks.

An exception to the rules mean that if less than a third of a website or app's content is pornographic then it does not qualify.

The legislation states that the new block "does not apply in a case where it is reasonable for the age-verification regulator to assume that pornographic material makes up less than one-third of the content of the material made available on or via the internet site [or app]".

This means that popular sites like Reddit, which serves primarily as a hub for non-pornographic communities and forums, will not fall under the government's porn ban. Popular image-sharing site Imgur will also be exempt.

Some social media sites, such as Facebook, already prevent adult content from being shared on their platforms as part of their terms of service.

Others allow pornography under certain circumstances, with Twitter among those who allow its users to post such content to their profiles.

Twitter's rules state that it allows adult content in tweets that are "marked as containing sensitive media".

It continues: "However, you may not use such content in live video, your profile, or header images."

Critics of the porn ban have also pointed out that the ease of circumventing the age-verification checks make them fundamentally flawed.

Using technologies like virtual private networks (VPNs) will allow people in the UK to spoof their location to make it appear to adult websites that they are in another country, and therefore not required to go through the ID check process.

Following the announcement of the ban this week, searches for VPNs surged on Google's search engine, as well as visits to VPN comparison sites.

"We saw a 55 per cent increase in UK visitors alone compared to the same period the previous day," Christopher Seward, editor at VPNCompare, told The Independent.

Google searches for VPNs more than tripled in the hours following Wednesday's announcement.

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