(CNN) – After years of working to build their audiences on OnlyFans, a number of sex workers and adult content creators are grappling right now with the sudden hit of potentially losing their income and access to fans who have paid their expenses.
OnlyFans, a subscription-based website that allows creators to charge for posting videos and photos to fans, said Thursday that it planned to ban “content containing sexually explicit conduct” in October, although it will continue to allow nudity according to its “policy. acceptable use. ” In a statement, the company attributed the changes to a need to ensure “the long-term sustainability of the platform.”
“These changes are to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payment providers,” he added.
For some, the move was disconcerting. Founded in 2016, the startup Based in the UK it is best known as a platform for sharing and viewing pornographic content.
It is with this reputation that it had rapidly escalated in recent years. OnlyFans has paid $ 5 billion to more than 1.5 million creators (including Cardi B and Bella Thorne) and has 150 million users, according to its website.
Sex workers and adult content creators, however, say they weren’t exactly surprised by the change that will fundamentally alter the way they and others use the platform. Anger and disappointment, yes: “Where would you be without the people who gave you your popularity?” Said a content creator, who goes by the name Bria Backwoods, of the ad. “Without us, I think it will go out.”
Rumors of changes in OnlyFans from a year ago
But, as an OnlyFans creator, who goes by the name Siri Dahl, explained to CNN Business: “There has been some kind of rumor and / or panic that OnlyFans would kick sex workers off the platform on a fairly regular basis during the last anus”.
Dahl, who has worked in the adult film industry, said she joined OnlyFans in late 2019 and that by early 2020 the site had become her main income. Fast forward to earlier this year, Dahl said he was able to buy his first home with the money he had earned at OnlyFans.
Although there are a host of other sites and services (including several where Dahl also publishes content, OnlyFans has a simple and easy-to-use interface, a reasonable revenue share (the site raises 20%), and an interest factor.
“In my experience, no other platform has the level of traffic that OnlyFans has achieved, especially during the pandemic,” says Dahl. “It absolutely skyrocketed during the pandemic.”
Looking back, Dahl said there were specific turning points that had creators recently concerned about the future of the platform for people in their industry.
First, in December 2020, when Mastercard, Visa, and Discover blocked customers from using their credit cards to make payments on PornHub, after a The New York Times column at the beginning of that month it will report on videos of alleged abuse of minors and non-consensual acts on the platform.
The move highlighted the controversial relationship between payment processors and pornographic websites. Then the news came that OnlyFans was seeking investor funding with a $ 1 billion valuation, but venture capital firms are often cautious about partnering with adult content.
Years of work
Another creator, calling herself Maya Morena, said that she joined OnlyFans about four years ago and worked very hard to build a fan base on the platform. She said she was able to go from doing full sex work (meeting clients in person) to having her OnlyFans income supporting her.
“During the covid, I just quit (full-service sex work) totally because it got too dangerous,” Morena claimed, adding that “this was the best month I’ve had at OnlyFans … and now it’s basically broke.”
Morena noted that while she is frustrated and angry, she has also been through this before having previously used services like Backpage.com, the classified ads website which was closed in 2018; Craigslist, what closed your personal ads section that same year; and Tumblr, which banned pornography at the end of that year.
“Every time I lose platforms, I lose a significant amount of money, but also my connection with my fan base, and I lose a lot of my job,” Morena said, adding that she had planned to eventually leave the sector, but had no intention of do it so soon.
“It is not easy to leave the industry. Usually an exit plan takes several years,” she said, noting that she is enrolled in college and has to pay rent. She added that while she is likely to start looking for work soon, it can be difficult to be hired with an online presence of this nature that can be easily discovered.
Sexually explicit content
Although the initial announcement left some questions about what content would be considered sexually explicit and how the policy would be enforced, OnlyFans, in an email sent to the creators on Friday, clarified this, sending a link to its new acceptable use policy which gives more details.
The company said in the email that “existing content that does not meet the standards of the new policy will have to be removed by December 1, 2021.”
Morena said she feels the change will mean having to be “like the (Instagram) models … like a Disney type of sexiness, that’s what I’m imagining it will be. Do I want to soften my content, or am I just going to find a different platform where I can make the same content? “
Backwoods, who said OnlyFans has been her main source of income since shortly after joining the platform in 2018, indicated that her current strategy is to build her email subscriber list so she can take fans with her wherever she goes. land after.
“I think things are coming to an end and it’s been a good run. I don’t think we’re in (OnlyFans) for much longer,” he said. “A lot of guys on the internet, trolls or whatever, they make fun of (the news) but they don’t understand that this is literally human livelihood. (People) make six figures and pay federal taxes on this money.”
“It would be weird to live in a world where Twitter was more accessible”
Dahl said that “starting in October, I will offer my explicit content elsewhere,” while noting that he plans to keep his OnlyFans account active. “It will just become a bit more risky Instagram account,” he said.
He noted that he is in “one of the most privileged situations,” given that he has hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram and Twitter, a fan subreddit, among other things. However, the change could be a “huge challenge” for her.
“Even Twitter allows explicit content as long as you have your account set up to be marked as sensitive content,” Dahl said. “It would be weird to live in a world where Twitter is more accessible to sex workers than OnlyFans.”