NewsEconomicsThe difficult relationship between credit cards and explicit content

The difficult relationship between credit cards and explicit content


The OnlyFans platform allows anyone to create a profile that works much like an Instagram page, diversifying content based on the amount users are willing to pay to view it. Initially conceived for categories such as chefs, artists, personal trainers – who could thus make some content available for free and others on subscription, monetizing their experience online – it soon became the realm of red light accounts, where to make available to subscribers. from casual nude photos or more explicit content created by professional sex workers. Thanks to the pandemic, OnlyFans has reached 130 million users and the earnings of its creators, added up, reach 3 billion dollars. In the past, the adult nature of most of its channels had caused problems for the platform: Apple and Google had refused the launch of the app on their stores, and Instagram recently banned OnlyFans accounts from being advertised on its page. On the other hand, Instagram has been fighting a struggle against explicit images for years, with its extremely rigid algorithm that censors not only pornographic nudes, but also statues, famous paintings and nursing mothers. The newly announced decision to eliminate all explicit content starting in October stems from a stance not so much by OnlyFans, but by its payment providers. The same platform explained it in a tweet, which addresses sex workers directly by writing “The policy change was necessary to guarantee banking and payment services to support you” and concludes with the hashtag #sexworkiswork. A modus operandi that is not new and that has also impacted in the past on other sites such as Patreon, which after attracting the creators of explicit content by contesting the ban on PayPal, was forced to review its policy to avoid entering into conflict with the Another recent case was the dispute between PornHub on the one hand and Visa and Mastercard on the other, after a New York Times investigation accusing the site of profiting from illegal content, including sexual exploitation and revenge porn. The two companies have decided to no longer accept payments on the platform if measures or organic measures have not been taken to remove the offending videos. And Mastercard has recently announced new guidelines that ask for stricter standards and more restrictive controls on adult sites, under penalty of suspension of payments. In this, OnlyFans does not seem to be a model of virtue: in May the BBC published its investigation that started as a revelation by some moderators, who spoke of rather lax policies towards content that violates the policy, allowing many to escape. between the meshes of the system. One of the big kinks involved the ability to block explicit accounts opened by minors, but also the illegal offer of live matches for a fee or for auction winners on the page. sex workers, there would be pressure exerted by Catholic and anti-pornography lobbies on banking and credit card companies. In recent years, these interest groups have pushed, under the cover of reducing sex crimes, for a general squeeze on online and offline pornography. But if OnlyFans sells, other platforms advance, some of which are created and run by sex worker cooperatives to escape the risk of restrictive payment provider policies, often backed up now by cryptocurrency-based systems.


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