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  • OnlyFans announced on August 19 it would be blocking content depicting "sexually-explicit" activity.
  • Sex workers, who said they popularised OnlyFans, expressed frustration over the site's decision.
  • The company reversed its decision 6 days later, and said it will provide a "home for all creators."
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

OnlyFans this week decided to bar sexually-explicit content, which made the online creator platform millions of dollars - and reversed that decision six days later.

Here's what you need to know.

What is OnlyFans?

OnlyFans is a content subscription service that allows content creators to receive funding from "fans" who subscribe to them. Fans can make direct payments in the form of one-time tips to monthly installments to view content ranging from musicians to physical fitness.

The company said it had more than 1 million creators and more than 100 million registered users.

The platform became largely associated with sex workers, who use the site to host adult content, after MyFreeCams founder Leonid Radvinsky bought majority stakes in the company. Celebrities like Bella Thorne, Tana Mongeau, and Michael B Jordan started OnlyFans accounts, which helped bolster the site's popularity.

What happened with Only Fans this week?

OnlyFans announced on Thursday, August 19 the platform would be blocking sexually explicit material starting October 1. Creators will still be able to upload nude photos or videos to their site, as long as it doesn't further violate the company's Acceptable Use Policy.

A company spokesperson said the move was to "ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform."

But just six days after announcing the ban, OnlyFans backtracked on its decision and said it will continue to provide a "home for all creators."

The decision follows days of backlash from sex workers, who said the platform profited off their content and later abandoned them.

Why did OnlyFans announce the policy change in the first place?

Despite the profitability of NSFW content on OnlyFans, the company has had trouble finding investors because the site hosts adult content.

Other companies who currently have similar valuations to OnlyFans don't have as much of a problem drawing in investors, according to documents obtained by Axios, which points to issues regarding the site's content and branding. Insider reported OnlyFans stopped its fundraising efforts after announcing the ban on sexually explicit conduct.

But OnlyFans CEO Tim Stokely said his decision had little to do with investors, and more with banks. He said JP Morgan Chase, BNY Mellon, and Metro Bank created "unfair" obstacles to pay creators due to OnlyFans' association with sex work.

Tumblr, which made a similar move in 2018 by banning users from posting adult content on its platform, saw a drop in downloads and its overall valuation a year later.

How did creators react?

Sex workers told Insider they felt frustrated by OnlyFans' lack of transparency about the decision.

"The current feeling I'm getting from other creators I know and myself is both anger and confusion," Chelsea Lynn, who said she was in the top 0.15% of creators, told Insider this week. "Sex work built OnlyFans, and now it feels like they're turning their backs on us."

Some users posted conversations with OnlyFans customer service representatives asking them not to believe "untrustworthy sources of information."

"We do not plan to move away from adult content and would have informed you upfront first if that would have ever happened," one OnlyFans representative told a user.


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