Aylo, the parent company of online pornography site Pornhub has accused the European Commission of exaggerating its size. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)


Pornhub puts up stiff opposition to EC over size measurement


Pornography website Pornhub’s parent company Aylo has accused the European Commission of exaggerating the platform’s size.

The claim comes as part of a legal challenge taken by the Canadian multinational against the EC over its decision last year to designate Pornhub as a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP) under the Digital Services Act (DSA). The classification came with numerous additional legal obligations.

Speaking to Brussels Signal on March 7, a spokesman for Aylo claimed the EC had “erred” in handing out the classification, saying Pornhub had not yet seen its monthly user-base reach the necessary 45 million figure required for a VLOP designation.

“As we’ve said in the past, the designation came as a surprise, given our significantly lower published figures,” the spokesman said.

“As of January 31, 2024, Pornhub has 32 million average monthly active recipients of the service in the European Union, calculated as an average over the period of the past six months.”

The firm also went on to claim the EC had given the porn site the designation despite Aylo handing it evidence revealing what it said was the overestimated size of its monthly user base.

“The Commission designated Pornhub as a VLOP despite the extensive data and methodology explanations we provided to support our published figures,” Aylo said.

“Therefore, we are exercising our right to take the legal route with our filing of an application before the General Court of the EU to annul the designation of Pornhub as a VLOP.

“Companies are permitted to and have the prerogative to scrutinise the reasoning behind regulations impacting industries that conduct business in a given jurisdiction.

“We are simply using the options available to all companies that conduct business in the EU,” it added.

The Aylo representative said the company was also challenging the requirement for VLOPs to publicly publish what was sensitive information relating to advertisements posted on its websites.

Under Article 39 of the DSA, VLOPs are legally obliged to create a searchable database of all of the adverts published on their sites, who or what paid for such and what social groups the advertising material was specifically targeted at.

According to the spokesman, Aylo believes such obligations are illegal under EU law. The company is now seeking interim relief regarding such.

Pornhub‘s owner is not the only company unhappy with its VLOP designation.

Euractiv reported that XVideos and Stripchat, two other pornography websites designated as VLOPs by the EC last year, are also launching legal challenges against the European body.

Both firms have so far refrained from making any public statement about their cases regarding the EC.