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OnlyFans Drops Ban On Sexually Explicit Content

OnlyFans Drops Ban On Sexually Explicit Content

Updated: August 26th, 2021

OnlyFans is making some big changes to its terms of service. Eventually.

The platform, known for helping revolutionise sex work in recent years, was set to ban pornographic content starting in October following pressure from banking partners and payment providers.

“In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform, and continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines,” said OnlyFans. The platform would still allow creators to post nude photos and videos, as long as they adhereed to OnlyFans’ guidelines.

However less than a week after this announcement, the company has now suspended its ban on pornography.

“Thank you to everyone for making your voices heard,” the platform tweeted. “We have secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community and have suspended the planned October 1 policy change. OnlyFans stands for inclusion and we will continue to provide a home for all creators.”

“An official communication to creators will be emailed shortly.”

This u-turn comes after severe backlash from sex workers, who were largely responsible for the firm’s success.

Founded in 2016 by British entrepreneur Timothy Stokely, OnlyFans is a subscription-based platform where users pay a monthly fee for access to a creator’s content— similar to Patreon but without the tiered membership system.

The platform has gained a lot of momentum since its inception due to a lack of content restrictions. Though not specifically designed just for porn, OnlyFans’ “anything goes” policy and airtight data security designed to protect both creator and subscriber make the platform a safe space for sex workers and voyeurs alike. As a result, Stokely’s brainchild is often credited for transforming the sex industry in just a few short years— granting entertainers full control of their content, image, and earning potential.

For this reason, OnlyFans has attracted online creators outside of the sex industry who previously relied on ad revenue from increasingly unreliable algorithms to make a living. YouTubers Trisha Paytas and Tana Mongeau are amongst the most popular influencers to join the platform.


Following the news of OnlyFans’ impending content ban, sex workers and pro-sex work advocates are compiling lists of other platforms and services creators can safely move to, including JustForFans and AVN Stars.

Internet commentators predict OnlyFans is headed for a fate akin to Tumblr following its sale to Yahoo and then Verizon. While there’s no question that Tumblr needed some form of moderation in place to ensure the safety of its young users, the company has been highly criticised for its approach to this— banning all adult content in 2018 in an effort to open new monestisation avenues via advertisers and brand partnerships. Apple removed the Tumblr app from the iOS App Store months prior due to child pornography.

This ban on all NSFW content was Tumblr’s demise. “Almost every blog in existence got flagged for NSFW posts and pictures even if they weren’t [NSFW],” influential Tumblr blogger Will Garcia told Mashable. “Which was a huge misplay and led to a huge migration from the site.”

Amid the backlash earlier this week, Stokely told the Financial Times the company was forced to make the decision to ban sexually explicit content after “unfair treatment from banks”.

There is speculation that other factors may have influenced this decision.

While in talks earlier this year to raise funding with a valuation of over $1 billion, Bloomberg reported that OnlyFans was looking to move away from its reputation for adult content and would use the capital to become a more mainstream platform. Despite boasting a massive 2 million creators and over 130 million users, the company has struggled to find VC funding and brand partnerships due to the content on the platform.

Reports from the BBC suggest that the platform may be updating its terms of service to rectify moderation issues, not to suppress sex work. The investigation found some users selling deeply problematic content via OnlyFans, including bestiality, child pornography, and possible incest.

Though it’s too early to tell, there are predictions that OnlyFans has lost trust and credibility with creators and this u-turn decision will negatively impact the company regardless.

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