OnlyFans will ban sexually explicit content starting in October, the company announced Thursday.
“To ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform and continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines,” the company said in a statement. It adds that the changes occur after requests from “banking partners and payment providers”.
It’s a huge change for a service that has become a major space for adult content as the creator economy has exploded.
Like other social platforms, OnlyFans allows its creators to offer content for free or to offer their live broadcasts, videos and messages through paid subscriptions. Creators can also earn income through tips or paid messages.
The website, which was founded in 2016, says it has 130 million users. Each year it pays more than US $ 5 billion to its creators, who number more than 1.5 million.
OnlyFans markets itself as a place where photographers, musicians, makeup artists, actors, and other creators can earn part-time or even full-time income.
But it is best known as a haven for sex workers and influencers who want to promote and sell access to adult content.
The company said Thursday that it would still allow creators to post nudity “as long as it is consistent with our acceptable use policy,” even though it was prohibiting what it called “posting any content that contains sexually explicit conduct”.
The use policy prohibits violence, rape and lack of consent, among other content. It also prohibits the representation or promotion of “escort services, sex trafficking or prostitution”.
OnlyFans said it would “share more details in the next few days”.
“We will actively support and guide our creators through this change in content guidelines,” the company added in its statement.
The decision was met with criticism, with some likening it to the decision by blogging platform Tumblr in 2018 to ban images and videos with “adult content,” including pornography.
Experts at the time said the blanket ban threatened to alienate communities, including LGBTQ users, sexual assault survivors, and sex workers who used the service to connect with each other and talk about safety issues.
Others questioned what the OnlyFans decision would mean for sex workers who relied on the platform for income.
“OnlyFans would be nothing without the sex workers whose work made it a major platform,” tweeted Kim Kelly, a journalist who covers labor rights.
“Now it is discarding them and removing a vital source of income from a population of workers who are disproportionately marginalized and have no protections under US labor law.”
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