Why OnlyFans Wanted To Ban Sexually Explicit Content

Timothy Stokely founded OnlyFans in 2016. Out of all his ventures in the adult entertainment industry, it was the most successful. 

He got the idea when he heard about sex workers selling custom-made porn under the table. They use Instagram to promote their little “business.” However, Instagram is your typical social media platform. It does not permit sexually explicit content. Thus, it is challenging for sex workers to sell their products on the site. They only use Instagram to connect to consumers, then use another platform for the transaction. Needless to say, it was a very inconvenient and time-consuming process.

Why OnlyFans Wanted To Ban Sexually Explicit Content

So Tim Stokely thought of making a platform that will streamline it for them. The platform will be like Instagram or Twitter, where there’s a feed. But to have access to the content posted by creators, users must purchase a monthly subscription. That way, users can have exclusive access to photos and videos of their favorite performers. At the same time, creators can monetize their content.

Tim Stokely has worked on a similar project before. In 2013, he founded Customs4U – a website that allows men to “personalize” the porn they watch. They can send their requests to their favorite models. So with this experience, Tim Stokely found OnlyFans easier to make. He had help from his brother Thomas, who became its chief operating officer. They also got funding from their father, Guy Stokely, who became its director until he was later on replaced.

OnlyFans And Sex Work

From OnlyFans’ roots alone, you can see its close ties with sex work. But when MyFreeCams owner Leonid Radvinsky acquired 75% of its ownership, it became even more associated with NSFW content.

Now, not all people that are on OnlyFans is a sex worker. The platform is useful for other people who want to connect with their fans and earn money while doing it too. Some notable names are Cardi B and Floyd Mayweather. Aside from them, there are fitness trainers and cooks on the platform.

OnlyFans now prides itself as a general-purpose platform that can be used by people of different professions. But sex toys and sex dolls are still more common and popular on OnlyFans than frying pans and treadmills.

When COVID-19 hit, people were stuck in their own homes. It has affected their sex lives. Unable to be with partners, people resorted to online content to get sexual satisfaction. That’s how OnlyFans exploded in popularity. 

People preferred to be on OnlyFans over being on porn sites. The content creators say it is because of the “online boyfriend/girlfriend experience.” That kind of interaction is what people needed the most while quarantined. Because of this behavior, OnlyFans rapidly grew. Now, it boasts 1.5 million content creators – most of which post sexually explicit content. Furthermore, it has 150 million registered users and pays creators $5 billion each year.

OnlyFans Planned To Ban Porn

It cannot be denied that sex workers put OnlyFans on the map. Because of them, OnlyFans became a multibillion-dollar subscription platform. So we can say that OnlyFans is highly successful. Not because it earned a lot of money but because it actually helped the people it wanted to help.

However, as great as it was, many people doubted OnlyFans’ lasting power. Being labeled as a porn platform really hurts a website. So the more OnlyFans grew, the more anxious the creators became.

Why OnlyFans Wanted To Ban Sexually Explicit Content

OnlyFans content creator Kimberly Kane spoke with The New York Times in May. There, she talked about what she thinks will be the future of the platform. Like the others, she says it’s not going to last. “They’ll take it away from us… It’s only a matter of time.”

That almost came true. On August 19, 2021, OnlyFans made an announcement. It plans to ban pornographic content on the platform starting on October 1.

Nudity will still be allowed, but sex videos – whether with a human partner, with a sex doll, or solo – will be removed.

As you might expect, even though some have suspected this will happen sooner or later, the decision was met with a backlash. People called it a betrayal. After all, it is kicking out the people who brought it to where it is currently at.

Six days after the initial announcement, OnlyFans made another one. It says that it is reversing the decision. 

Why Did OnlyFans Want To Ban Porn?

According to CEO Tim Stokely, the decision to ban pornographic content was caused by pressure from banks. He says they are now refusing to work with OnlyFans because of its reputation as a porn platform.

That is not unheard of. Banks generally don’t like to work with any sex-related companies. Aside from adult websites, sex dolls and sex toy manufacturers also experience this difficulty.

Adult industry group Free Speech Coalition director of public affairs, Mike Stable, explains the reason behind this. 

First and foremost, there’s an exceptionally high risk of disputed charges. Customers who buy sex products and porn may deny it out of embarrassment and try to get their money back.

Then, there are VISA and Mastercard’s adult content rules. Financial companies worry about violating these and landing in trouble. So, they tend to be over-conservative. As they say, “Better safe than sorry.”

Religious organizations also contribute to this problem. Sex work reporter Melissa Gira Grant has documented that these organizations have pushed regulators and companies to cut revenue off adult services. They say they are doing this to fight sex trafficking. However, they target sexual content as a whole. They want people to stop supporting even those who voluntarily entered the sex industry. These activists have succeeded at making Visa and Mastercard cut off payments to pornhub.

Why OnlyFans Wanted To Ban Sexually Explicit Content

Perhaps, the withdrawal of support from Metro Bank, BNY Mellon, and JPMorgan Chase scared the people behind OnlyFans. But there’s no more need to worry. OnlyFans declared that it had secured assurances necessary to support all of its creators. 

However, it did not reassure the content creators. They cannot help but feel unease. How long will it take before OnlyFans reverses this decision again? Considering how vague its statement is, it could not be long. Anyway, this is just speculation. What’s important is, for now, content creators can still post sexual content on OnlyFans.

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