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OnlyFans Drops Plan to Ban Explicit Content, Will Continue to Allow Porn

In a quick U-turn of events, OnlyFans announced today that it has suspended its plan to ban explicit content on the platform.

By August 25, 2021No Comments

In a quick U-turn of events, OnlyFans announced today that it has suspended its plan to ban explicit content on the platform.

On August 18th, OnlyFans—a site known for hosting sexually provocative content—shocked users with its announcement that it will no longer host “content containing sexually-explicit conduct” starting in October. In the same announcement, OnlyFans also confirmed that it would not be banning nudity outright.

But after intense public and content creator backlash following the announcement of the porn ban last week, they have reversed that decision and plan to continue to allow content creators on the site to post explicit content of any nature.

Related: OnlyFans Will Reportedly Ban “Sexually-Explicit Conduct.” What Does That Mean?

Variety reports that the company said it “secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community,” suggesting that it has new agreements with banks to pay OnlyFans’ content creators, including those who share sexually explicit material.

The original plan to disallow explicit content was due to the site’s recent struggle to find investors for funding.

An OnlyFans spokesperson declined to say which bank or banks it has new or renewed payment-processing agreements with. “The proposed Oct. 1, 2021 changes are no longer required due to banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators,” the rep said.

Related: Is Making An OnlyFans Worth It?

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Variety reports that OnlyFans founder and CEO Tim Stokely put the blame for the porn ban on banks in an interview with the Financial Times published Aug. 24, saying that banks including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon and the U.K.’s Metro Bank had cut off OnlyFans’ ability to pay creators.

The furious backlash among OnlyFans creators also pushed the company to quickly resolve the problem. OnlyFans’ decision to ban porn had infuriated explicit content creators who have relied on the site to support themselves.

In frustration, some adult creators have already nixed their OnlyFans pages. Many content creators say they have already seen an exodus in followers and income after the company’s announcement of the ban.

And even amidst the site’s announcement to continue allowing explicit content, many adult creators say they cannot trust the site anymore and will not return (link trigger warning), seeking alternative platforms instead.

What is OnlyFans, again?

In 2016, OnlyFans was founded by Tim Stokely. Stokely is an entrepreneur who dabbled in the porn industry by creating a bondage and fetish site in 2011 that permitted people to pay porn performers for custom content.

Similar to the bondage and fetish site, OnlyFans allows content creators to post content and receive payments directly from “fans” in the form of one-time tips and monthly subscriptions.

It’s important to note that not all content on OnlyFans is pornographic, but a lot of it is, and that’s where much of the site’s popularity and money is coming from.

Related: How OnlyFans Reportedly Facilitates And Profits From Child Sex Trafficking

OnlyFans reportedly experienced a surge in activity around the time stay-at-home orders were put in place towards the beginning of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The site reported 3.5 million new signups in March 2020—that’s a 75% increase, or around 150,000 new users every 24 hours.

In 2020 alone, OnlyFans brought in over $2 billion in sales, which resulted in $400 million in revenue thanks to its 20% cut of creator fees. The number of OnlyFans creators increased by around 40%, while the number of users went from 7.5 million to 85 million. And the site is only growing in popularity.

This may be an indication that many content creators joined OnlyFans out of financial difficulty, and while many people tout OnlyFans as empowering or an easy way to make some quick cash, many who join out of financial desperation quickly learn that this simply isn’t the case.

Related: The Dark Side Of OnlyFans Most People Don’t Know About

And the unfortunate truth is that financial desperation is usually a factor that makes someone susceptible to joining the commercial sex industry, where human exploitation can follow.

But another unfortunate truth is that there are already reported cases of exploitation being facilitated by OnlyFans.

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OnlyFans and human trafficking

There are reportedly child exploitation images being profited from on OnlyFans.

In some cases, the child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on OnlyFans is reportedly due to minors uploading their own self-produced content. In one case, a 17-year-old content creator who goes by “Hannah” was actively selling nudes on OnlyFans and making about $15-20K a month starting at age 16.

Related: Not All Porn Is Consensual. Don’t Believe It? Just Ask These Performers.

But even if sexual content on OnlyFans is self-produced by a minor, it still classifies as CSAM, and it’s still child sex trafficking.

However, according to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), police and child protection agencies are also reportedly uncovering other cases where the content on the social media site is coming from children who are being actively trafficked or exploited on the platform by another person.

But how could this be? The site maintains that it is “…committed to the safety and security of its users, and its Terms of Service being upheld” and states that it uses “systems and software that are not only compliant but go over and above current regulations” in order to “report any adult material involving children.”

Even so, Staca Shehan, Vice President of the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children, has other thoughts on the efficacy of OnlyFans’ safety mechanisms. Shehan states, “In 2019, there were around a dozen children known to be missing being linked with content on OnlyFans. Last year the number of those cases nearly tripled.”

Related: How Porn Can Fuel Sex Trafficking

Additionally, police have received complaints from children who were blackmailed into posting explicit imagery, had others upload intimate images of them, or had their faces edited onto others’ naked bodies (i.e. “deepfake”) before being posted to OnlyFans.

In order to create content for OnlyFans, the site maintains that all creators must be 18+ to sign up and provide a government-issued ID as proof, but a number of loopholes exist that make getting around this pretty easy.

NCOSE reports that minors have allegedly been able to cheat the age verification systems by using fake IDs or IDs owned by older relatives.

A BBC reporter also found it easy to cheat the age verification system on the site—they simply used a fake ID. Also, when the reporter used age detection software on the site, they found numerous profiles flagged as appearing to be around the age of 14.

Why this matters

Many people view OnlyFans as a solution to the numerous issues of exploitation and mistreatment in the mainstream porn industry, but it’s reportedly just a continuation of these problems.

OnlyFans claims to have robust age verification systems in place to prevent any form of CSAM from being uploaded to the site, but time and time again these systems have proven to be reportedly woefully inadequate.

Related: How Shaming And Victim-Blaming Porn Performers Adds To Their Mistreatment

No, not all content on OnlyFans or even mainstream porn sites is nonconsensual or exploitative. But consumers have no way to tell which is which.

And regardless of if a singular piece of content is exploitative, sites like OnlyFans and other mainstream porn sites reportedly facilitate, perpetuate, and profit from exploitation and trafficking. Consumers can choose not to support that exploitation by refusing to click.

The fact that porn—whether on OnlyFans or otherwise—so frequently normalizes and exacerbates the problem of sexual exploitation is all part of the proven harmful effect of porn.

To report an incident involving the possession, distribution, receipt, or production of child sexual abuse material, file a report on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)’s website at www.cybertipline.com, or call 1-800-843-5678. 

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