What is behind OnlyFans' decision to ban sexually explicit content

What is behind OnlyFans' decision to ban sexually explicit content

The site that became famous for allowing influencers and porn stars to monetize their adult content has found itself in the crossfire of a mounting campaign against sex work and the fear of online payment companies

(photo: by Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto) Ask anyone what's the first thing that comes to their mind when they think of OnlyFans, and the answer will be unanimous: porn. Whether it's Instagram models lent to the casual nudity business or surfed pornstars, the platform based solely on a system of individual creator channel subscriptions in recent years has become synonymous with a haven for anyone wishing to monetize their thrusting images directly.

The nature of the site had already created some problems for the company: Apple and Google had in fact so far refused to allow the launch of OnlyFans as an app on their stores, and the new terms of use for Instagram entered into force in December 2020 made it clear that advertising their OnlyFans account on the platform would not be allowed.

To mark the end of an era, however, was the pressure of MasterCard. A pressure that, upstream, signals the growing pressure that groups opposed to any form of sex work - which often hide behind the sacrosanct fight against human trafficking - exert on politics and tech companies.

Thursday, the company announced that it will ban posting content containing "any kind of sexually explicit conduct" on the platform from October.

Although they have specified that some posts containing nudity will be tolerated, it is very unclear how they intend to make the distinction, as on the one hand there are those who consider "sexually explicit conduct" even breastfeeding in public , and on the other hand, all the major platforms have so far refused to invest in non-algorithmic content moderation that takes context and nuances into account.

Some speculate that, as Pornhub did recently, only verified creators will be able to continue uploading explicit content, but in the absence of specific guidelines for now, the future of those using OnlyFans as their primary means of livelihood is uncertain .

Economic motivation

Gone out of all proportion during the pandemic, reaching the current 130 million users, OnlyFans has begun to attract growing political and regulatory attention, focused on its ability to remove content illegal and recognize cases of exploitation. In early August, a group of US lawmakers, relying on the positions of pornography abolitionist groups such as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, asked Congress to investigate "the prevalence of child pornography material depicting missing or abducted children and the potential solicitation involving the contents sold on OnlyFans ".

OnlyFans' decision to target other types of creators who are currently a minority on the platform - chefs, artists, personal trainers, yoga instructors and other categories far less stigmatized than those who create adult content - arrives but under pressure from banks and payment processing systems such as Mastercard and Visa.

As porn actress and sex worker rights activist Gwen Adora pointed out on Twitter, “The pressure from anti-pornography groups on banking and credit card companies is forcing them to make it even more difficult the existence of sites for adults ". With this in mind, OnlyFans is by no means the first site to bend under these pressures, nor will it be the last.

A perfect example of this trend is what happened to the porn giant Pornhub. In 2020, it finally became clear that the site had hitherto been unable to avoid, control and punish the many cases of illegal videos - including revenge porn, child pornography and videos depicting victims of human trafficking - on the platform. After the publication of a New York Times article accusing - correctly, in large part - the site of being profiting from illegal content, in December Visa and Mastercard momentarily decided to stop processing payments made on Pornhub. This is despite the platform claiming to have deleted all videos from unverified accounts on the site a few days earlier.

After a few days, Visa retraced its steps - and in June 2021 she found herself involved in a lawsuit against Pornhub because, according to the plaintiffs, she was actively aware of the exploitation suffered by some girls whose videos are were uploaded to Pornhub and would therefore have profited from their suffering.

To protect itself from such accusations, Mastercard has announced that from October it will apply new standards to all companies that deal with adult content and to the banks that serve them. Under the new policy, all banks that connect merchants to the Mastercard network will have to certify that the pornographic material provider "has effective controls to monitor, block and, where necessary, eliminate all illegal content", with a process that " resolves any illegal or non-consensual content within seven business days ”, providing“ documented age and identity verification for all persons depicted and for those who upload the content ”and a“ pre-posting content review process ”.

Rather than losing the ability to process payments, OnlyFans seems to have opted to limit the content that made it famous. Or, to put it to a company spokesperson, "to ensure the platform's long-term sustainability and to continue hosting an inclusive community of creators and fans, we need to change our content guidelines"

The concern of sex workers

The way in which the news was communicated - first to the press than to users - and the extreme uncertainty regarding what will be considered acceptable content or not have panicked many sex worker, who in recent years have repeatedly found themselves excluded, often overnight, from platforms they had helped shape.

Kick off this wave of ostracism was a pair of laws, passed in 2018 amid criticism from digital rights activists: the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. Below Sesta and Fosta, the online platforms are held responsible for the presence of prostitution on their sites, even when it comes to consensual sex work. While it has been proven time and time again in recent years that these laws have done nothing but put sex workers in further danger, tech companies in many cases have preferred to completely exclude adult content from their platforms rather than risk being punished.

The most striking example is that of Tumblr, which was the home of a lot of porn - soft or otherwise - until, in 2018, the company decided to ban sexually explicit content causing a real diaspora, emptying the platform of one of its most active communities, and causing all sorts of chaos in the process. OnlyFans itself welcomed sex workers fleeing another popular subscription-based platform, Patreon, when in 2018 it began banning not safe for work content.


The one of OnlyFans then seems all the more a betrayal. As digital strategist and feminist activist Isabella Borrelli wrote, “In 2020 Of was not a mainstream site: it was more or less the following reasons that blew it up. 1: The pandemic and the crisis for show business workers. 2: 50% discount in May 2020 to subscribe to the platform. 3: The right vision on the porn market, which in recent years has completely transformed, starting with live cams ". “Of offers a pay - albeit small - to the work of sex workers and brings it to a wider audience,” continues Borrelli. "It becomes a place that, although to a small extent, protects these people from perhaps the greatest economic crisis of the last hundred years, they who have no protection in Italy".

Losing even a space like OnlyFans, undoubtedly much safer than the street and, in times of a pandemic, than any option that leads sex workers to personally interface with customers, worries those who have migrated online to last year and a half.

“It remains to understand what Of means when it says that nude content will still be allowed as long as it adheres to the new policy (which has not yet been published),” Lennyplane, a popular Italian creator on Onlyfans, tells Wired. “The fundamental point of the story is that sex work cannot continue to be associated with child trafficking, abuse or the sharing of non-consensual material. We regret that especially a platform like Of has not deigned to use its popularity and its media power to raise public awareness of the issue, to guarantee greater rights, instead of contributing, even with this last declaration, to casting a shadow on the dignity of people. , dictating rules on the morality of what should now be perceived as a job like any other ”.

Web - 21 hours ago

OnlyFans will prohibit sexually explicit content

Sex / Life: fifty shades of a desperate housewife

Sex Education Season 3 first photos and debut date


Sex globalData.fldTopic = "Sex"

This opera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Powered by Blogger.