OnlyFans reverses pornography ban, but a Toronto sex worker is skeptical

Competing platforms saw an uptick in interest after the site announced it would no longer allow sexually explicit content


OnlyFans is suspending its plan to ban pornography as several of the creators on the service flock to alternative platforms like JustFor.Fans, Fansly, Frisk and more.

The exodus began when OnlyFans, the social media app where sex workers and other “creators” can post pictures and videos for paid subscribers, announced last week it was going to ban sexually explicit content – but not nudes – on October 1, following pressure from banking and payment processor partners.

That decision to limit sex workers’ ability to make a living was met with widespread anger and pain, with many creators pointing how OnlyFans was abandoning the people who made the platform so popular to begin with.

“We have secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community and have suspended the planned October 1 policy change,” OnlyFans announced on Wednesday August 25 via Twitter. “OnlyFans stands for inclusion and we will continue to provide a home for all creators.”

In February, NOW hosted roundtable on the state of sex work where content creator Gwen Adora laid out the campaign pushing for platforms like OnlyFans to ban explicit pornography.

A Christian group called Exodus Cry created a campaign called TraffickingHub, which branded PornHub as a trafficking site containing illegal content including child sexual assault material. The campaign led to a New York Times op-ed that recounted victims’ stories. Credit card companies subsequently pulled payment processing services from PornHub, which only then purged illegal content.

But sex workers said the actions taken by these companies was punishing the legal content creators who made a living with subscribers.

OnlyFans, which claims to payout $5 billion annually to two million creators, cites the same pressure and policy changes from payment processors like Mastercard as the reasoning behind their pivot away from pornography.

In its statement on Wednesday, the company cited assurances from their financial partners that led to the policy reversal.

But at least one sex worker is wondering whether OnlyFans is gaslighting its content creators with the policy suspension to keep them on the platform for the time being.

“They’re not permanently cancelling their terms of service change,” says Jenna Hynes, a program development coordinator at Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project. “So many sex workers and porn creators have pulled out of OnlyFans. They lost how many hundreds of thousand dollars, if not more. My thoughts are that they’re just trying to bank on the money they’re already earning by all of these content creators while they still can. It feels really gross to me. Everything is really vague.”

OnlyFans competitors see uptick in interest

Many alternative platforms were crashing due to the flood of new subscribers following the new policy announcement at OnlyFans last week.

“Overnight on August 19, 2021 we saw a 50x increase on applications and support inquiries and the next day it was 1000x,” says Michael, the CEO of Fansly in a statement posted to Twitter. He goes on to explain how the platform has hired more than 80 new staff members to facilitate the growth.

Competing platform JustFor.Fans, which also saw a surge in traffic, issued a statement questioning whether OnlyFans’ policy suspension will stick: “If they reverse course now, who is to say they won’t reverse course in another three months.”

Hynes says they received responses to inquiries from OnlyFans as recently as Tuesday evening, instructing that existing content that doesn’t meet the new anti-porn standards will need to be deleted by December 1.

The email they received from OnlyFans on Wednesday, announcing the policy suspension, did little to alleviate their concerns.

“This just reads to me like a way to placate sex workers without making any assurances that we are safe or protected because we aren’t… They’re going to put sex workers through this again.”

@justsayrad

Brand Voices

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

NOW Magazine