North Carolina Law Shuts Down Popular Explicit Website

A North Carolina law that takes effect on Jan. 1 has led to one popular website that serves explicit images to an age-restricted audience blocking users from the Tar Heel State.

Starting Monday, the new North Carolina law will require websites that display explicit images to serve a prurient interest for visitors to verify their users’ ages before allowing them to proceed. As a result of the new law to protect minors from being harmed by such websites, at least one of the most popular sites is closing to users in the state.

The explicit video-sharing website based out of Canada is the number one ranked site globally for such content by audience metrics. It is also the 11th most-visited website in the world. Rather than comply with the new law, which allows parents or guardians of minors who gain access to the site to sue for damages, the website closed to users in North Carolina Thursday.

A producer for FOX Carolina published a statement from the website’s parent company that says, “Any regulations that require hundreds of thousands of adult sites to collect significant amounts of highly sensitive personal information is putting user safety in jeopardy.”

An editor at The Western Journal called the result “a small victory in a very large war.” The editor also wrote that “shutting down in the state is a very [ … ] real solution. It’s probably, in fact, a better solution than the bill was even aimed at achieving. [ … ] The fact that it happened in the state where I happen to now live just makes it a little bit sweeter, at least for me.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed the law after it passed the state’s General Assembly with overwhelming support. The law requires that adult-only explicit websites verify that users are “over the age of 18 through a commercially available database or another commercially reasonable method for age and identity verification.”

A state senator in Indiana filed a similar bill to the North Carolina law earlier this month. State Sen. Mike Bohacek (R) said Wednesday, “This is not a First Amendment issue. This is a matter of responsibility and decency and following the law.”