OnlyFans, a social media platform where users can sell subscription access to content, said on Thursday it will ban pornography starting in October.
The company said in a statement that it would block users from posting sexually explicit photos and videos at the request of “banking partners and payment service providers”. OnlyFans says it will still allow people to post nude images in compliance with the organization’s guidelines.
“To ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform,” the company said, “we had to develop our content guidelines.”
A company spokesman did not respond to questions about who made the request or what prompted the change.
The change comes as OnlyFans has struggled to secure funding from investors, who are hesitant to link to the company’s pornographic material, Axios reported.
It is not clear how OnlyFans, based in the UK, will determine which images and videos contain nudity as pornographic when the ban goes into effect. The company has blocked posts with sexual assault, violence or bestial content and banned minors from joining the platform.
OnlyFans has become a source of income for two million creators, including sex workers, during the pandemic. The company says it has helped democratize prostitution, in part by allowing creators to effectively run their own businesses and own the content they post on the site. Creators have earned a combined total of more than $4.5 billion since OnlyFans was founded nearly five years ago, the company said.
The platform has more than 130 million users who pay a creator monthly fee to view an image feed that is often too luxurious for Instagram or TikTok. With that access, subscribers can also send direct messages and creators “tips” to get the image or video on demand, according to their sexual preferences.
Celebrities have joined the platform over the past year, helping to bring it into the mainstream. Cardi B, Tyga, Chris Brown and Bella Thorne have all set up profiles. Social media influencers have also joined in, including many from TikTok and YouTube. YouTube star Tana Mongeau joined OnlyFans last year. Instagram influencer Caroline Calloway says she makes six figures for sharing literary-inspired porn on her page.
Many sex workers, strippers and porn stars rely on OnlyFans as a primary source of income. When word of the ban spread on Thursday morning, many of them frantically exchanged messages in group chats, trying to determine what would and wouldn’t be banned. Meredith Jacqueline, 36, who has been the creator of OnlyFans for two years, says the ban will have a huge impact on her and others.
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“People won’t be able to make ends meet,” she said. “People will lose the roofs over their heads.”
Kenneth Pabon, 22, a New York-based OnlyFans creator, joined the platform last year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and is using her earnings from the site to pay off her student loans. me. “OnlyFans is my way of paying rent,” he said. “I make my own food from this.”
“Someone said it was like Burger King said they don’t sell burgers anymore,” added Mr. Pabon. “This is what OnlyFans is known for.”
Adult Performers Association, a labor association representing OnlyFans and webcam creators and dancers, say on Twitter on Thursday that “the potential loss of income that many may face as a result of Onlyfans’ upcoming changes can cause awkwardness and fear.”
“We want to express that we are working to get answers,” the guild said. “When this happens, we want the performers to know that we are here to provide support and service.”
The creators have attempted to contact the platform seeking clarity on what will and will not be banned. “Who determines when a photo is pornographic or when it is a female body?” Mrs. Jacqueline said.
The company did not provide further information.
“OnlyFans remains committed to the highest levels of security and content moderation of any social platform,” the company said in its statement on Thursday. “All creators are verified before any content can be uploaded to OnlyFans, and all uploads are checked by automated systems and moderators.”
Many creators have quickly call attention the way they believe the tech industry exploits sex workers for profit and user growth, hanging them out when a platform is big enough to go mainstream.
“As a sex worker on OF, I am furious,” said an OnlyFans creator known online as Jasmine Rice, 23, who founded a content subscription platform called Fanhouse. OnlyFans, she added, “makes all of their profits off of sex workers and is now culling them.”
OnlyFans is just the latest platform to block pornography. Nudity is completely banned on Facebook and Instagram. In 2018, Tumblr usage plummeted after the site banned pornography, which was already widespread on the platform. Twitter is the only social platform that still allows users to post photos and videos containing full nudity, including pornographic content.
Last week, OnlyFans released a “safe for work” app called OFTV, where creators can upload nudity-free content, such as vlogs and cooking videos.