OnlyFans moves to ban adult content

Creator-driven subscription platform OnlyFans is banning adult content, despite this making up most of the site.

Starting October 1, OnlyFans will prohibit sexually explicit content from its creators’ accounts – effectively neutering the service as a source of income for online sex workers. Nudity will still be allowed, but content will receive significantly more scrutiny than in the past.

The company said that it is ‘evolving’ its content guidelines “in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans.” The changes are also being made to comply with the requests of banking partners and payment providers. 

The London-based OnlyFans is valued at more than US$1 billion, but has struggled to find investors due to the continued stigma around sex work. In an attempt to soften the brand, OnlyFans’s pitch deck to investors reportedly did not mention pornography at all, while the company has this week launched a completely PG video streaming app.

OnlyFans was founded in 2016, but exploded in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic. The site currently has over 2 million creators and 130 million users. More than US$5 billion was generated on the site in 2020, while OnlyFans takes a 20% cut of all transactions on the platform.

A number of prominent sex workers advocates have been heavily critical of the decision, arguing that OnlyFans has benefited from their labour and is now kicking them to the curb.

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