“Hey, I’ll have a cheesecake without cheese.”
This is what a nightmare for an emerging business with the potential to go off the chart, might look like. What can be worse for a company than being scorned by its customer base for “betrayal”? The sex workers and adult content creators who helped OnlyFans to gain the popularity that it enjoys today, are disappointed by the recent guidelines of the platform.
- Subscription based content platform OnlyFans bans “sexually explicit content”.
- More than 1.5 million adult content creators and sex workers clueless about their income source.
- The platform became a billion dollar company after going hog wild during pandemic.
- Sex workers disappointed, call it “betrayal” against the community who made website popular.
The subscription-based adult website based out of London, recently announced its plans to prohibit any “sexually explicit content” w.e.f. Oct 1, 2021. While the reasons for such a drastic shift in platform’s content policies is still unknown, its users, both the content creators and the “fans”, are hugely disappointed.
The exact new content policies of the platform are listed as follows-
DO NOT UPLOAD, POST, DISPLAY, OR PUBLISH CONTENT ON ONLYFANS THAT:
- Shows, promotes, advertises or refers to “sexually explicit conduct”, which means:
- actual or simulated sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, between persons of any sex;
- actual or simulated masturbation;
- any exhibition of the anus or genitals of any person which is extreme or offensive;
- actual or simulated material depicting bodily fluids commonly secreted during sexual conduct;
- All existing Content that shows, promotes, advertises or refers to “sexually explicit conduct” (which has the meaning given to it in section 5(b) of this Policy) must be removed before December 1, 2021, or by any other date which we communicate to Users.
The billion-dollar business of the London based company became a remarkable success during the pandemic when sex workers and adult content creators took to the website to draw earnings during lockdown. With the announcement of the new policies, this same set of people stand at the verge of losing their income source.
SEX WORKERS FEARING THE LOSS OF LIVELIHOOD
OnlyFans became a huge success since its inception in 2016. The platform has so far paid out more than $5 billion to more than 1.5 million content creators that also include Cardi B and Bella Thorne. Almost 150 million users have so far registered their presence on the site.
There are plenty of other online platforms for adult content creators, but OnlyFans provides multiple edges to the creators- easy to use interface, an established name and justifiable earnings (it charges only 20% of the income).
Despite going hog wild during the COVID-19 led pandemic, the platform still had its inflections points once in a while. One such troublesome event occurred in Dec 2020 when Visa, Mastercard and Discovered blocked the permission to make payments on PornHub. This happened after NYTimes exposed the videos depicting nonconsensual acts and child abuse on the platform.
However, this is not the first time that a platform has launched a crackdown on adult content. A similar incident occurred in 2018 when Backpage.com shut down, followed by Craigslist that blocked its personal section in the same year.
Most of these sex workers adapted to online adult content creation with time, given the fact that virus outbreak has made the job a lot riskier. Some of them entirely gave up the physical job of meeting a client for favors. It also helped them to earn more than they usually do.
SO WHAT IS BEHIND THE MASSIVE SHIFT IN ONLYFANS’ CONTENT POLICIES?
Contrary to what the obvious reasons appears, crackdown on adult content is not the result of legal regulations. It is, according to the company, due to financial stakeholders. The spokesperson of OnlyFans wrote in an email that the decision is to “comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers.”
From an incident that occured in Dec 2020 when Mastercard, Visa and others blocked payments for PornHub, a new emerging trend can be witnessed.
Such fintechs and digital wallet companies are increasingly playing role in deciding what content should and should not be allowed on online platforms. This holds especially true for subscription based platforms. PayPal already blocked its payment services for PornHub before the incident occured in 2020. Currently, the only payment mode active for PornHub is either via direct bank transfer or cryptocurrency.
In most of the cases, such adult content platforms have content policies for sexually explicit content in place. However, they deliberately choose not to regulate famous accounts with large followers to adhere to the terms and conditions. Similar allegations have bee put on OnlyFans, after it was revealed by BBC investigation.