Here’s why OnlyFans barred porn this week

A screen showing the OnlyFans website
  • OnlyFans announced this week that it would be blocking content depicting "sexually-explicit" activity.
  • Part of what made the company so popular was catering to creators and subscribers' interest in adult content.
  • Sex workers, especially those who collected steady income from subscriptions, expressed their frustration with the site's decision.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

OnlyFans this week decided to bar sexually-explicit content, which made the online creator platform millions of dollars, in a move that may upend how adult entertainers use the site.

Here's what you need to know.

What is OnlyFans?

OnlyFans is a content subscription service that allows content creators to receive funding from "fans" who subscribe to them. Fans can make direct payments in the form of one-time tips to monthly installments to view content ranging from musicians to physical fitness.

The company said it had more than 1 million creators and more than 100 million register users.

The platform became largely associated with sex workers, who use the site to host adult content, after MyFreeCams founder Leonid Radvinsky bought majority stakes in the company. Celebrities like Bella Thorne, Tana Mongeau, and Michael B Jordan started OnlyFans accounts, which helped bolster the site's popularity.

What happened with Only Fans this week?

OnlyFans announced on Thursday that the platform would be blocking sexually explicit material starting October 1. Creators will still be able to upload nude photos or videos to their site, as long as it doesn't further violate the company's Acceptable Use Policy.

"In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines," the company said in a statement. "These changes are to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers."

Why is OnlyFans doing this and what might it mean for the company?

Despite the profitability of NSFW content on OnlyFans, the company has had trouble finding investors because the site hosts adult content. Other companies who currently have similar valuations to OnlyFans don't have as much of a problem drawing in investors, according to documents obtained by Axios, which points to issues regarding the site's content and branding. Companies have also been uneasy given the possibility of underage users and depictions of sex-trafficked individuals appearing in videos.

Earlier this year, OnlyFans was reportedly looking at ways to make the site more palatable to the mainstream public, looking at shifting from sexual content to its celebrity and social influencer market. It started working with the Raine Group, a tech and telecom merchant bank, to find sources willing to invest. The company was also looking to Radvinsky to sell some of his shares to pull away from its ties to the adult entertainment market.

Tumblr made a similar move in 2018, banning users from posting adult content on its platform. A year after the "porn ban," the company saw a drop in downloads and its overall valuation. Its community also felt alienated from what was once seen as a generally safe space to explore and express sexuality. Users comfortable with posting adult content on the site struggled to find ways to create content and remain part of the Tumblr community. It is unclear how OnlyFans will adapt to ditching sexual content, which has become a recognizable part of its identity.

How are creators reacting?

Sex workers told Insider they felt frustrated by OnlyFans' lack of transparency about the decision.

"The current feeling I'm getting from other creators I know and myself is both anger and confusion," Chelsea Lynn, who said she was in the top 0.15% of creators, told Insider this week. "Sex work built OnlyFans, and now it feels like they're turning their backs on us."

Some users posted conversations with OnlyFans customer service representatives asking them not to believe "untrustworthy sources of information."

"We do not plan to move away from adult content and would have informed you upfront first if that would have ever happened," one OnlyFans representative told a user.

Jane Wilde, a sex workers who earns her income primarily through OnlyFans, said she felt frustrated the company provided media outlets with a statement before consulting creators.

Wilde also said she found the jokes some social media users made at her expense disheartening.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Comments are closed.