OnlyFans, a social media platform where users can sell subscription access to content, said Thursday that it will ban sexually explicit images from October.
The company said in a statement that it would prevent users from posting explicit photos and videos at the request of its “banking partners and payout providers”. OnlyFans said it would still allow people to post pictures with nudity that met the guidelines.
“In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform,” said the company, “we need to further develop our content guidelines.”
A company spokeswoman did not respond to questions about who made the request or what caused the postponement.
The change comes as OnlyFans struggles to secure funding from investors who are reluctant to connect with the company’s sexually explicit material, Axios reported.
It wasn’t clear how UK-based OnlyFans would determine which pictures and videos of nudity were sexually explicit after the ban went into effect. The company is already blocking posts depicting sexual assault, violence, or sodomy, and bans minors from the platform.
OnlyFans has become a source of income for two million creators, including sex workers, during the pandemic. The company said it helped democratize sex work, in part by allowing creators to run their own businesses and own the content they post on the site. Creators have collectively made 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 monthly fees to creators to view feeds with images that are often too racy for Instagram or TikTok. With this access, subscribers can also send direct messages and “tap” creators to get pictures or videos on demand, depending on their sexual tastes.
Celebrities have joined the platform over the past year and helped bring it into the mainstream. Cardi B, Tyga, Chris Brown, and Bella Thorne all set up profiles. Social media influencers have also jumped on board, including many from TikTok and YouTube. YouTube star Tana Mongeau joined OnlyFans last year. Instagram influencer Caroline Calloway said she made six figures by sharing literary-inspired pornography on her page.
Many sex workers, strippers and porn stars rely on OnlyFans as their main source of income. When the news of the ban spread Thursday morning, many of them frantically exchanged messages in group chats to find out what should and shouldn’t be banned. Meredith Jacqueline, 36, who has been an OnlyFans creator for two years, said the ban would be devastating for her and others.
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“People won’t be able to make ends meet,” she said. “People will lose the roof over their heads.”
Kenneth Pabon, 22, an OnlyFans inventor based in New York, joined the platform last year after the coronavirus pandemic outbreak and uses his website revenue to pay off his student loans. “OnlyFans is how I pay my rent,” he said. “I feed on it.”
“Someone said it was like Burger King that they stopped selling burgers,” added Mr. Pabon. “OnlyFans is known for that.”
The Adult Performance Artists Guild, the union that represents OnlyFans and webcam creators and dancers, said Thursday on Twitter that “the potential loss of income that many may face as a result of the onlyfans changes ahead can create coercion and fear.” .
“We want to say that we are working to get answers,” said the guild. “As this is happening, we want the cast to know that we are here to provide support and service.”
The creators tried to reach out to the platform for clarity on what would and would not be banned. “Who determines whether a photo is sexually explicit or whether it is a woman’s body?” Said Ms. Jacqueline.
The company did not provide any further information.
“OnlyFans is committed to the highest level of security and content moderation on all social platforms,” said the company in its statement on Thursday. “All creators are verified before they can upload content to OnlyFans, and all uploaded content is reviewed by automated systems and human moderators.”
Many creators were quick to point out how they believed that the tech industry is exploiting sex workers for profit and user growth and hanging them up to dry out once a platform is big enough for the mainstream.
“As someone who does sex work at OF, I’m very angry,” said an online OnlyFans inventor known as Jasmine Rice, 23, who started a content subscription platform called Fanhouse. OnlyFans, she added, “made all of their profits with the backs of sex workers and are now discarding them.”
OnlyFans is just the newest platform to crack down on sexually explicit content. Full nudity is prohibited on Facebook and Instagram. In 2018, Tumblr usage collapsed after the website banned pornography, which was popular on the platform. Twitter is the only social platform that still allows users to post photos and videos of full nudity, including pornography.
Last week OnlyFans released a separate “safe for work” app called OFTV, which allows creators to upload bare content like vlogs and cooking videos.