OnlyFans — a pay-per-view content subscription service — officially suspended its decision to ban sexually explicit content on its platform on Wednesday. The ban, initially announced last week, sought to minimize the site’s pornography problem by only allowing creators to post nude content without sexual acts.
OnlyFans was set to introduce new posting guidelines starting in October, according to Bloomberg. Creators who previously used the platform for “anything goes” content would have to find new ways to meet audience demands in a less explicit way.
Content creators on OnlyFans have since protested the ban, leading to the company’s pivot. Read on to learn why the company first initiated this ban and how it’s planning to make amends with content creators.
OnlyFans Suspends its Ban
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, the company tweeted it would suspend its ban on sexually explicit content. This pivot could potentially be an effort to make amends with pushback from creators, labor unions, and social justice organizations.
“OnlyFans stands for inclusion and we will continue to provide a home for all creators,” the company stated in the tweet.
A majority of Twitter users feel this suspension is inauthentic and OnlyFans is merely backtracking to accomplish its monetary goals. Based on the tweet’s engagement, it seems as though few are currently satisfied with the suspension as it stands.
One account even called on the company to reduce its commission fee, as the initial ban announcement was detrimental to site activity and revenue. The crowdfunding platform takes 20% of subscription fees from the 1.5 million+ creators that post premium photos or videos on its site.
OnlyFans did not elaborate on its decision to suspend its sexually explicit content ban.
It could have pivoted its decision for a variety of reasons. “Maybe there was some outside pressure influence that reversed that decision,” speculates SUBTA’s Co-Founder and CEO, Paul Chambers. “They realized they were making a mistake and blowing up their revenue source… We may never find out what the true reason was.”
OnlyFans’ Motivation Behind the Initial Ban
Last year, OnlyFans netted $375 million and this year it expects to generate $1.2 billion, as stated in a company pitch deck provided to Axios. This rapid success should be an investor’s dream, but many are wary of the platform’s notoriety.
With over 150 million registered users, OnlyFans has seen more traffic and risky material than ever before. Last month, through its first transparency report, the company reported taking down 72,000+ posts that violated its acceptable use policy (AUP) and removing 15 accounts for posting child pornography.
Thus, it set out to amend its current AUP policy in October in an effort to minimize content that is tainting the site’s reputation.
“In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines,” the company stated last week, according to Variety.
OnlyFans’ goal to experience long-term success could be jeopardized by the nature of its content, and the company wants to establish trustworthiness and credibility while doing business with financial partners.
“Banks and other financial partners are introducing more controls. We want to ensure the sustainability to our business and the move we are making makes us more acceptable to these people,” said Guy Stokely, OnlyFans’ Head of Finance, to the Financial Times.
Three banks in particular — Metro Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of New York Mellon — were blocking transactions on the platform, leading to OnlyFans’ need to comply.
The company stated in a tweet that it received the “assurances necessary to support” its content creators. However, OnlyFans did not go into details about what those assurances might be, and if they’re coming from any of the banks that allegedly forced the company to amend its AUP policy.
The Creator Economy Spoke Out, OnlyFans Listened
OnlyFans is a viable, steady source of income for many content creators. To date, over $5 billion has been paid out annually to its creators.
“OnlyFans is how I pay my rent,” content creator Kenneth Pabon told the NY Times, “I feed myself from this.”
The company’s initial announcement came as a shock to many last week. “Someone said it’s like Burger King saying they’re not selling burgers anymore. This is what OnlyFans is known for,” added Pabon.
Many creators began preparing for the impact of new content guidelines, like Tristan West, who predicts a ban on sexually explicit material will “shatter a lot of people’s main source of income.”
“Me and a lot of people have got to do a lot of work to secure our business, move our assets, move our content to another platform. It’s not the end of the world, but this is a huge setback,” West told TechCrunch in the wake of the initial ban announcement.
Some even made the move to alternative platforms already — like @JazzabelleRocks, who moved her content to LoyalFans prior to OnlyFans walking back the ban. “This is the death of Onlyfans. Here is one alternative where you will still be able to post, get in before the rush,” @JazzabelleRocks stated after first hearing of the looming ban.
With the internet buzzing with pushback, OnlyFans showed its support to sex workers before reversing its decision to ban sexually explicit content.
The Creator Economy Halts Censorship… For Now
Operating a subscription economy implies that rules and protocols must be updated to keep up with modern consumer trends. However, in OnlyFans’ case, the way in which it was handled attracted major backlash, which begs the question: how can OnlyFans implement safety-driven and economically feasible policies while also prioritizing the well-being of creators?
In this situation, OnlyFans’ creator economy was able to temporarily halt content censorship imposed by financial institutions.
The company’s attempt to appease its financial partners came at the cost of upsetting creators that rely on the platform for income — many of which helped the platform grow to what it is today. Now, OnlyFans is reaching out to creators in the hopes of retaining them.
Will the platform be able to gain its community’s trust back?
- OnlyFans suspended its ban on sexually explicit material that would have initially started October 1.
- The company’s initial decision to ban this content is based on its wish to partner with financial providers that do not want to be affiliated with a sexually explicit platform.
- Many OnlyFans creators rely on sexually explicit material to make a living and some planned to leave the platform following the company’s recent announcements.
- Last year, the company netted $375 million, and this year, it expects $1.2 billion. However, this could be dependent on the willingness of creators to keep making content on the platform.