Censoring Sex: Payment Platforms’ Regulation of Sexual Expression

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    This chapter examines the role of payment platforms in the United States in sex censorship in which platforms have a pattern of denying financial services to people and businesses involved in publishing legal sexual content. It answers the following questions: what explains payment platforms’ regulation of lawful sexual content and what are the consequences? Methodology/Approach – Drawing from the platform governance literature, this chapter closely examines the corporate policies for PayPal and the credit card companies that prohibit certain types of sexual content and services. Findings – This chapter argues that payment platforms’ censorship of sexual expression is shaped by the distinctive nature of and market concentration within the online payment industry. Payment actors’ systematic campaign of sexual censorship disproportionately affects small businesses and individual operators in the sex and adult entertainment industries and amounts to “digital redlining,” a form of financial discrimination. Originality/Value – Payment providers’ role in regulating sex online has received considerably less scholarly attention than research on social media platforms. This gap in scholarship is notable as big payment actors have systematically denied services for about a decade relating to sexually oriented goods and services (see Blue, 2015a).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMedia and Law: Between free speech and censorship
    Editors Mathieu Deflem, Derek M.D Silva
    Place of PublicationUnited States
    PublisherEmerald Publishing
    Pages63-79
    Edition1
    ISBN (Print)978-1-800711-730-5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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