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OnlyFans reverses ban on explicit content

August 25, 2021

The popular subscription platform will not be banning sexually explicit content, the company has announced. The original plan had been met with surprise and outrage from the site's user base.

The OnlyFans logo on a smartphone
OnlyFans gained popularity as a safe space for sex workers and content creatorsImage: STRF/STAR MAX/IPx/picture alliance

OnlyFans, the online platform that rose to prominence as a space for users to share erotic photos and videos for a subscription fee, went back on its decision to ban explicit content on Wednesday.

The UK-based company surprised its user base last week when it announced that it would be banning sexually explicit content, saying that several key banking companies had threatened to cut ties with the platform.

The reversal came after the company was able to secure the support of its banking partners.

"We have secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community and have suspended the planned October 1 policy change," OnlyFans said on Twitter.

Relief for millions of content creators

The initial decision had been met with anger among users who depend on the subscriptions for their income. The site's popularity exploded during the coronavirus pandemic as venues closed and people were forced to stay inside.

The decision drew particular criticism from sex workers who said they had built up the success of the platform, paying 20% of their earnings, only to then be abandoned.

The site had also been a safe space that allowed tens of thousands of workers to achieve financial security. "The pandemic has been especially hard for workers in the sex industry where there has been little state support," UK-based group United Sex Workers said ahead of Wednesday's announcement.

The platform has over 130 million users worldwide and 2 million content creators who have earned $5 billion (€4.25 billion) collectively.

Finance industry skeptical

OnlyFans did not elaborate on what its new agreement was with its banking partners. CEO Tim Stokely said that the financial institutions had wanted to cut ties out of fear of damaging their reputations.

The company said last week that banning explicit content was the only way to "comply with the requirements of these financial institutions" and "help ensure the long-term sustainability of OnlyFans."

Sex workers in the pandemic

Online payment processing companies are also worried about unwittingly supporting transactions over illegal material.

"Credit card companies and financial institutions consider adult entertainment to be a high-risk sector," Scarlett Woodford, an analyst at Juniper Research, told AFP.

ab/nm (AP, AFP)

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