OnlyFans will shut down without sexually explicit content, sex workers say

20 August 2021, 18:02

Creators have warned OnlyFans will close down if it upholds its ban on sexually explicit content
Creators have warned OnlyFans will close down if it upholds its ban on sexually explicit content. Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Subscription site OnlyFans will close down if it upholds its ban on sexually explicit content, sex workers have said.

Strict new rules coming into effect from 1 October will prevent creators from sharing "any content containing sexually explicit conduct" on the social media platform.

Non-sexualised nudity will still be allowed, however users of the site have said that is not enough to keep them on it and that they are anxious about what their futures hold.

"It will have to be starting up from the bottom and working our way up again," a 23-year-old known online as Arabella Amyiah said.

She currently earns between £7,000 and £8,000 a month from a network of roughly 1,000 subscribers.

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OnlyFans, which was founded in 2016 by Essex businessman Tim Stokely, is predominantly used by sex workers but celebrities, cooks and comedians regularly post on it it to connect with their audiences.

Creators receive 80 per cent commission on their earnings, while the rest goes to the company and covers "referral payments, payment processing, hosting, support, and all other services".

The firm said the decision comes amid pressure from its banking partners and payment providers.

Although sex workers plan to jump ship and use other platforms, they are concerned alternative sites could follow suit.

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One 24-year-old, who uses the name Yasmina Khan, currently generates about £22,000 per month via OnlyFans and says she hopes her 2,000-plus subscribers will follow her elsewhere.

"I'm just going to have to go to another platform but then, are other platforms safe as well?," she said.

"I'm a little bit anxious about it but I think everyone is very anxious right now."

Obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman said he believes the London-based firm could suffer a similar fate to Tumblr, which saw numbers drop after it decided to ban pornographic images in December 2018.

"It's difficult to see that OnlyFans will survive purely as an influencer site," he said.

"It's possible, but considering the entire content base has been pornography and now it's not going to be anymore."

OnlyFans, which has 130 million users and more than two million creators, is expected to share more details about the move in the coming days.

A statement shared by the company on Thursday said: "In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines.

"Creators will continue to be allowed to post content containing nudity as long as it is consistent with our Acceptable Use Policy."

The site allows people to connect with their fans by uploading content, often of a sexually explicit nature, and to charge their subscribers on a monthly basis or through tips.

It currently only allows public nudity photos and videos in jurisdictions where such displays are legal.

In July, OnlyFans revealed in its first monthly transparency report that it had deactivated 15 accounts for hosting indecent images of children.