OnlyFans won’t ban porn after all

But has the damage been done already?

by Douglas Greenwood
|
25 August 2021, 3:01pm

Photo via@nateman010276

Just about everything seems stacked against sex workers, an occupation open to exploitation and financial precarity. So when OnlyFans, the subscription service which has become a reliable place for them to make a living, revealed it would be banning pornographic content from October, it caused panic from those in the industry wondering where they could move to next. Well, after a week of stress and backlash, OnlyFans’ bosses have backtracked and revealed that they won’t be going ahead with the porn ban after all. 

In a statement posted to social media today, OnlyFans revealed their reasons for reversing the decision. “Thank you to everyone for making your voices heard. 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.”

While it may spell good news for some who had struggled to find a suitable replacement home for their content, for many others too much damage has been done. Sex workers have started responding to the statement already.

@Hexx_girl responded to the news equally unfavourably. “I call for a [reduction] in fees for all of us who have been affected by this,” she wrote. “I’ve lost over 150 subscribers overnight but I’m still paying you the full 20% of my earnings?”

She later continued: “Overall I’ve lost about 500 subscribers. This is my only source of income and your indecisiveness and poor communication [have] made models and subscribers scramble and caused chaos. Give us a temporary fee reduction to help us if you are actually sorry.”

Of course, the initial news of OnlyFans opting to ban explicit content from their platform gave many flashbacks to the way Tumblr crumbled in value following their own ban on pornography. These decisions, usually catalysed by banks and investors looking to invest in conservative platforms, are now the death knell of digital platforms. Axios conducted a report that pointed out that venture capitalists “are prohibited from investing in adult content, per limited partnership agreements”, having a potential knock-on effect on OnlyFans’ value.

Perhaps the damage has been done here. In the wake of OnlyFans’ initial announcement, many content creators planned to switch to a new platform, like Fansly or PocketStars. With those already in motion, OnlyFans will have to try a bit harder to keep sex workers — who make up a huge bulk of their income — on side. It’s all too familiar for some. As @savannah_solo puts it: “Something about the special way you gaslight and manipulate us is starting to make me feel like this account is run by one of my ex boyfriends.”

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