OnlyFans, the subscriber-only website synonymous with pornography, has announced that it will ban adult content from the site after pressure from its payment processors.
The company will continue to allow certain posts that contain nudity, but “any content containing sexually explicit conduct” will be banned, with the site focusing instead on more mainstream content.
The London-based outlet exploded in popularity during the lockdown, generating billions of pounds in revenue as more than 130 million users signed up to subscribe to content or pay to chat with “creators.” . While OnlyFans insists that a wide range of people create material for the site, ranging from chefs to yoga instructors, by far the most popular content on the site is pornography.
OnlyFans said the ban, which will go into effect in October, follows pressure from banks and payment processors who have raised concerns about the material it hosts. Rather than lose its ability to accept payments, which would kill the business completely, OnlyFans instead chose to ban the adult material that made its name.
“In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we need to evolve our content guidelines,” said a spokesperson for the site.
Payment processors are increasingly controlling the material that porn sites can host. Last December, Visa and Mastercard briefly banned payments to websites owned by online porn giant MindGeek, following reports it was hosting “revenge porn” uploaded without the consent of those involved. Financial firms only backed down when MindGeek removed tens of millions of unverified videos from its sites like PornHub.
OnlyFans has enabled tens of thousands of female sex workers to earn substantial incomes in exchange for giving the company 20% of their earnings back, with many creators claiming this has given them financial freedom. Internal figures obtained by Axios suggest that around 16,000 creators make at least $ 50,000 (£ 36,000) per year on the site.
However, it has also faced growing political and regulatory control over its ability to remove illegal and exploitative material. Earlier this month, more than 100 members of the United States Congress and women called for a Justice Department investigation into OnlyFans into the alleged presence of minor material at the site.
Problems like this scared off the company’s potential investors and caused it to seek out a more mainstream business model, similar to other crowdfunding sites such as Patreon, while removing the sex workers who built its audience. .
A spokesperson for OnlyFans 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 content security and moderation of all social platforms. All creators are verified before they can upload content to OnlyFans, and all uploaded content is verified by automated systems and human moderators.
Even as the audience for online pornography continues to grow, mainstream internet companies have moved further and further away from adult material. In 2018, it was banned by Tumblr, while Facebook and Instagram also banned explicit content. Twitter is now one of the few social media platforms to allow pornography.
The company was founded in 2016 by the Essex-based Stokely family, who continue to be the public face of the business and continue to extract substantial sums from the business. However, documents filed by the companies show that it is now fully owned by US-based online pornography veteran Leonid Radvinsky, who is keeping a low profile.