OnlyFans will ban “sexually explicit” images and videos from October 1, the online subscription service has announced.
The social media platform, which is used by sex workers but also celebrities, musicians and comedians, allows “creators” to share pictures and videos with their subscribers.
Under the new guidelines, people will still be able to post nude content on the site, but it will need to be consistent with the company’s updated policies.
The London-based company said in a statement: “In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform, and continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines.”
According to the OnlyFans website, creators receive 80% commission on their earnings, while the remaining 20% covers “referral payments, payment processing, hosting, support, and all other services”.
The BBC reported that the change comes after the broadcaster approached the company over concerns about its handling of accounts posting illegal content.
According to a BBC investigation, content moderators for the platform are told to give multiple warnings to accounts that post illegal content before the site decides to close them, and it claims that staff are asked to be more lenient towards successful accounts on the service.
The investigation also claims to have seen a number of examples of banned content on the site and says it was told by moderators that prostitution services have been found advertising on the platform.
In response, OnlyFans told the BBC it does not tolerate violations of its terms of service, and its systems and age verification go far beyond “all relevant global safety standards and regulations”.
But one sex worker and former OnlyFans user warned that the ban on sexually explicit content was “awful” because it would push those working in the sex trade who used the platform to other, less safe, spaces.
Tilly Lawless said many sex workers used the platform, particularly during lockdown, as a vital source of income.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that OnlyFans was under pressure from its banking partners and payment providers to “clean up their act”.
“I understand why they’re doing it from a financial perspective – they now have the platform they wanted, they can kick sex workers off now they’ve got influencers on it, they’ve got celebrities on it, they’ve got fitness people on it,” she said.
“They can make money that way, they don’t need sex workers like they did when they started.
“But I can’t understand it from a wiping out (sex) trafficking perspective, because getting rid of platforms like this, none of that actually stops people in dangerous scenarios, it actually just makes it harder for sex workers who are using those platforms to work safely.”
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