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OnlyFans reverses plan to ban sexually explicit content

The announcement last week about the policy change was met with widespread surprise.

File image of the OnlyFans website.
File image of the OnlyFans website.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

ONLINE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE OnlyFans announced it has reversed its plan to prohibit sexually explicit content from October.

The platform, which is popular among sex workers, recently announced new rules coming into effect in October that prohibit “any content containing sexually explicit conduct”, though non-sexual nudity would still be permitted.

In a statement on Twitter today, the UK-based company said: “We have secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community and have suspended the planned October 1 policy change.

“OnlyFans stands for inclusion and we will continue to provide a home for all creators.”

It added that an official communication will be emailed to creators.

Founded in 2016, OnlyFans says it has 150 million users worldwide and has been adding around half a million users a day.

It hosts content posted by about two million creators, who include celebrities like rapper Cardi B and the boxer Floyd Mayweather, along with well-known porn stars and other people looking to supplement their income.

The announcement last week that OnlyFans was planning to ban explicit content was met with widespread surprise, as this content has been the driving factor in the site’s explosion of popularity.

The company’s founder and CEO Tim Stokely initially tied the decision to threats from major banks to cut ties with OnlyFans, lest they damage their reputation.

“Credit card companies and financial institutions consider adult entertainment to be a high-risk sector,” Woodford said – not least due to the high rate of transactions that people dispute, claiming they were accidental.

Payment processing firms and investors are also increasingly worried that they could be accused of funding illegal material that makes its way onto sites that allow adult content.

The announcement of the explicit content ban was also met with widespread anger from sex workers’ groups, who said OnlyFans had built its success on the work of adult performers – taking 20% of the earnings through the site.

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Critics also said the website had provided financial security and a safe working environment for tens of thousands of sex workers who would otherwise be working in more dangerous situations, including on the street. 

The Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) welcomed the reversal of the planned ban. 

Aoife Bloom, board member of SWAI, said as the pandemic continues some sex workers are supplementing their income through online work, including OnlyFans. 

Additional reporting by Orla Dwyer and Press Association.

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