Not all OnlyFans accounts are created equal. An investigation by BBC News, published three days ago, revealed that OnlyFans allowed moderators to give multiple warnings to accounts that posted illegal content on its online platform before deciding to close them, and that employees on the content moderation team were asked to be more lenient towards “successful accounts”.
Soon after the BBC broke this story, OnlyFans said it would take off most of the adult content from the site. “The announcement comes after BBC News approached the company for its response to the leaked documents, and concerns about its handling of accounts posting illegal content,” wrote the BBC in its report, published on its website on Thursday.
Also read: How can parents keep young people safe online during the pandemic?
OnlyFans, a website known for its racy content which gained popularity during pandemic lockdowns, said later the same day that it would ban “sexually explicit” content in a new policy starting October.
After outrage from sex worker communities around the world, the company posted on Twitter late Saturday night: “Dear Sex Workers, The OnlyFans community would not be what it is today without you. The policy change was necessary to secure banking and payment services to support you. We are working around the clock to come up with solutions.” It is currently the pinned tweet on the company's Twitter page.
Dear Sex Workers,— OnlyFans (@OnlyFans) August 21, 2021
The OnlyFans community would not be what it is today without you.
The policy change was necessary to secure banking and payment services to support you.
We are working around the clock to come up with solutions.#SexWorkIsWork
The British-based company that claims some two million content creators who earn money from their videos and photos, said it would still permit nudity within its "acceptable use policy," which was still being defined. An OnlyFans statement said the changes were being made in response to concerns from its bankers and investors, as it seeks to broaden its audience beyond adult content to features such as cooking and yoga. The social network and content hosting site has 130 million users and over 2 million creators that have earned over $5 billion on our platform, the company said.
The announcement did leave many users puzzled by the sudden volte face, because OnlyFans has been a long-time favorite of porn stars seeking to earn money from performances, and gained popularity during the pandemic, with sex workers connecting online with customers.
They targeted us & invited us online first 😅 camgirls were the main demographic on there back in 2017, we were literally invited to use the platform. We didn't just take over a random influencer site haha— Avalon (@xFaeryPrincessx) August 23, 2021
It was intentional
The news comes after Pornhub operator MindGeek revised its policies this year after facing pressure from payment processors concerned by reports the online service was posting illegal content online, including child pornography and rape videos.
Also read: How deepfake porn and propaganda threatens India