Internet | August 20, 2021 2:50 pm

OnlyFans Is Banning the Sexually Explicit Content That Made It a Billion-Dollar Company

The subscription-based platform said the changes are to appease banks and financial transaction services

OnlyFans Is Banning the Sexually Explicit Content That Made It a Billion-Dollar Company
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

OnlyFans, the subscription-based social media platform that has amassed over 130 million users largely thanks to its sexually explicit content, announced yesterday it would be banning sexually explicit content starting October 1st.

“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 the company, adding that content containing nudity will still be allowed, as long as it is consistent with the company’s Acceptable Use Policy.

The ban comes as OnlyFans has struggled to find investors due to its focus on adult content, Axios reported. In the statement, OnlyFans said the changes “are to comply with the requests of our baking providers and payout providers.”

Obviously, OnlyFans banning porn is like if Instagram banned influencers or if Facebook banned vaccine misinformation — OnlyFans and sexually explicit content are inextricably linked. And while the ban is a head-scratching, seemingly suicidal business move for OnlyFans, it’s an unsurprising development for the sex workers who are largely responsible for catapulting the site into the mainstream.

“It’s a common reality that sex workers popularize platforms only to then be forced out when the platforms reach a level of mass popularity,” Mistress Eva Oh told InsideHook in 2020.

When high-profile celebrities like Bella Thorne and Cardi B flocked to OnlyFans during the early days of the pandemic, sex workers immediately feared their days on the platform could be numbered.

As InsideHook’s Kayla Kibbe wrote last August, “The threat mainstream celebrity presence on the site poses for sex workers is twofold. One fear is that as more high-profile celebs flock to the site to monetize non-erotic content, OnlyFans will eventually cease to be a safe space for the sexually explicit photos and videos for which the site has historically been best known. Indeed, while some of the platform’s recent celebrity creators have suggested they plan to share erotic material, others have made it clear they have no such intention. And as the site continues to grow in popularity among celebrities who have no interest in sharing sexual material, sex workers on the platform fear OnlyFans may start to crack down on explicit content.”

Not only is OnlyFans’ recent ban on sexually explicit content a blatant slap in the face to the creators that made it a $1 billion business, but it could affect millions whose livelihoods are dependent on the site. According to The New York Times, the site has become a source of income for two million creators, including sex workers, during the pandemic. OnlyFans creators have collectively earned $4.5 billion since the platform started almost five years ago.

“OnlyFans is how I pay my rent,” one creator told the Times. “I feed myself from this.”