Fan subscription site OnlyFans has said that it will be banning sexually explicit content from October 1.
The news has surprised many of its creators and subscribers. The London-based OnlyFans, which launched in 2016, is best-known for hosting sexually explicit, often homemade pornography. Subscribers pay a monthly fee to follow their favorite creators, and OnlyFans takes a 20% cut.
The site’s popularity grew during the pandemic, and it says it has 130million users. It handled $2billion in sales last year, according to Bloomberg.
Apparently, pressure from banking partners and payment providers has led to OnlyFans to change its policy on pornography. It says it will still allow nude photos and videos provided they stay within the site’s guidelines – which it said would be updated in the coming days.
“In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform, and continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines,” OnlyFans said in a statement.
OnlyFans is hoping it can still earn revenue from subscribers signing up to watch fitness, cookery and makeup videos, along with other content from influencers.
It recently launched apps dedicated to its nudity-free content.
OnlyFans’ rapid growth has led to increased monitoring and some criticism. Earlier this year, the BBC reported on several minors who had used fake IDs to set up OnlyFans accounts and were earning money from selling sexually explicit videos. Responding to the BBC investigation, OnlyFans said it had closed the accounts flagged and refunded all active subscriptions.
The news that OnlyFans was banning sexually explicit prompted thousands of online comments, with many seeing humor in the situation.
Only Fans to ban sexually explicit videos.
In other news, McDonald’s will stop selling burgers and fries and will only serve salads.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 20, 2021
in solidarity with OnlyFans, our show will no longer feature the song ‘9 to 5’
— 9 to 5 the Musical (@9to5MusicalUK) August 20, 2021
This is like a strip club pivoting to focus on the chicken wings.
— Les Orchard (@lmorchard) August 19, 2021
However, others were also keen to highlight how this would impact the revenue of many who depended on the site for a living.
The effect that this OnlyFans ban could have on so many people for whom the platform has been their only way to pay rent over the pandemic is disturbingly absent from news coverage today.
— Sophia Smith Galer (@sophiasgaler) August 20, 2021
The news that OnlyFans will ban sex workers from making an income from the platform from October has come as a very painful blow, after an already horrendous 18 months.
— SWARM (@SexWorkHive) August 20, 2021
One of OnlyFans’ biggest rivals, JustForFans, posted a statement pledging to remain sexually explicit.
Our statement based on today’s news. pic.twitter.com/3PHKmkQ5qQ
— JustForFans (@JustForFansSite) August 19, 2021
“The adult industry is sadly used to companies cutting their teeth on the adult market and then abandoning them once they reach critical mass. JustForFans.com was founded and built by and for sex workers and its staff is 100% comprised of sex workers and people who have been in the porn industry for many, many years. We are a porn site. That will never change and we have no interest in ‘mainstreaming’,” it said in a statement.
JustForFans, which reportedly takes a 30% cut in subscription payments, saw its site briefly crash on Thursday due to a surge in traffic following the OnlyFans announcement.