OnlyFans, the subscriber-only website synonymous with pornography, has announced that it will ban adult material from the site following pressure from its payment processors.
The company will continue to allow some posts that contain nudity, but “any content that contains sexually explicit conduct” will be banned, and the site will focus instead on more conventional content.
The London-based outlet has exploded in popularity during the shutdown, generating billions of pounds of revenue as more than 130 million users signed up to subscribe to content or pay to chat with “creators.” Although OnlyFans insists it has a wide range of people creating material for the site, from chefs to yoga instructors, the most popular content on the site is by far porn.
OnlyFans said the ban, which will take effect in October, followed pressure from banks and payment processors who expressed concern about the material it hosts. Rather than lose its ability to receive payments, which would effectively end the business entirely, OnlyFans has chosen to ban the adult material that made its name.
“To ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform and continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must develop our content guidelines,” said a spokesperson for the site.
Payment processing companies increasingly control what material porn sites can host. Last December, Visa and Mastercard briefly banned payments to websites owned by online porn giant MindGeek, following reports that it was hosting “revenge porn” uploaded without the consent of those involved. Financial companies only backed down when MindGeek removed tens of millions of unverified videos from their sites like PornHub.
OnlyFans has allowed tens of thousands of sex workers to earn substantial income in exchange for giving more than 20% of their profits to the company, and many creators say it has given them financial freedom. Internal figures obtained by Axios They suggest that some 16,000 creators earn at least $ 50,000 (£ 36,000) annually from the site.
However, it has also faced increasing political and regulatory scrutiny over its ability to remove exploitative and illegal material. Earlier this month, more than a hundred American congressmen demanded a Justice Department investigation into OnlyFans, related to the alleged presence of underage material on the site.
These issues have scared the company’s potential investors into pursuit of a more mainstream business model similar to other crowdfunding sites like Patreon, while eliminating the sex workers who built its audience.
An OnlyFans spokesperson said: “We will share more details in the coming days, and we will actively support and guide our creators through this change in content guidelines.
“OnlyFans remains committed to the highest levels of security and content moderation of any social platform. All creators are verified before they can upload any content to OnlyFans, and all uploaded content is verified by automated systems and human moderators. “
Although the audience for online pornography continues to grow, major Internet companies have increasingly distanced themselves from adult material. In 2018 it was banned by Tumblr, while Facebook and Instagram also have explicit content bans. Twitter is now one of the few leading social media platforms that continues to allow pornography.
The company was founded in 2016 by the Essex-based Stokely family, who continue to be the public faces of the business and continue to extract substantial sums from the company. However, corporate filings show that it is now wholly owned by US-based online pornography veteran Leonid Radvinsky, who keeps a low profile.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism