SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY

How will social media sites respond to PornHub’s decision to block Utah users?

May 2, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: 8:36 pm

PornHub has blocked access to users from Utah that wish to view their content.  In a video message...

A spokeswoman for PornHub, an adult website, explains why Utahns trying to access the website are not able to do so. Due to Utah's new social media laws, there is concern that websites such as Facebook and Instagram could go black in Utah. (Screenshot, PornHub)

(Screenshot, PornHub)

SALT LAKE CITY — On Monday, the website PornHub announced it was going to block Utah users from its site after being required to verify age.

In the aftermath of that decision, it is not known if social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram could follow suit.

Ari Cohn, a technology lawyer for the group Tech Freedom, says they could go dark. However, it’s not clear if they would. 

“It really illustrates how difficult this is going to be to enforce,” Cohn said. “Immediately after PornHub did what it did, searches for VPNs and virtual private networks skyrocketed in Utah.”

Limiting Utah users

Technically, the web sites could block access anytime as Utah will soon require age verification.

“This could easily be what social media turns into in Utah,” Cohn said. “Platforms could just simply say ‘It’s not worth it, we’re not going to do it.'”

But would they? Cohn says it’s difficult to say.

“If I were them, would I consider doing it for a time to make a point? Possibly,” he said.

Supporters of the state’s new social media laws say the decision by PornHub shows tech would rather let kids on their platform than try to verify age.

Meta did not respond to KSL NewsRadio’s request for comment. 

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How will social media sites respond to PornHub’s decision to block Utah users?