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OnlyFans Backtracks on Sexually Explicit Content Ban

By Andrea Villar | Wed, 08/25/2021 - 15:26

After receiving strong backlash from its users, OnlyFans decided to backtrack on its decision to ban sexually explicit content, which the platform had made less than a week ago. “We have obtained the necessary assurances to support our diverse community of creators and have suspended the policy change planned for October 1,” the company said on Wednesday, via its Twitter account.

Prompted by concerns from investors and payment processors, OnlyFans announced policy adjustments that sparked criticism and confusion from its content creators. Users of the platform took to social media to point out the "abandonment and indifference" they felt, arguing that the new policies would force sex workers who had found a secure income on the platform back onto the streets. 

The London-based company defended the unexpected decision by citing threats from major banks, payment processors such as Mastercard and investors to cut ties with the company. However, OnlyFans told CNBC that the ban was no longer necessary "due to banking partners' assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators.” In an interview with the Financial Times, OnlyFans Founder and CEO Tim Stokely said the company was forced to ban sexually explicit content after “unfair” treatment from banks, including JPMorgan and BNY Mellon. 

As to whether the change in policy was made to make it easier to raise capital, Stokely denied that OnlyFans had made the changes "to make it easier to find investors." He also clarified that Mastercard had nothing to do with the decision and that they were "fully compliant" with its rules. The platform is in talks to raise funds to get a valuation of more than US$1 billion, according to a Bloomberg report back in June. 

Following the ban statement, Juniper Research analyst Scarlett Woodford published a study on the future of the adult entertainment industry, describing the announcement to ban pornography as "a risky decision for OnlyFans, considering the revenue generated by adult video stars," she said, adding that credit card companies and financial institutions treat adult content as a high-risk sector. 

In Mexico, more than 39 percent of women and nearly 38 percent of men reported increased use of video calling and sexting during the pandemic, a Statista study revealed. The US currently accounts for 56.77 percent of the traffic on OnlyFans, followed by the UK with 9.42 percent and Canada with 4.79 percent, according to the visibility management and content marketing SaaS platform. Mexico accounts for 2.09 percent of OnlyFans’s traffic, with 3.8 million devices. According to ComScore, Mexicans doubled their unique visits to OnlyFans from March to September 2020

Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst