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What exactly is OnlyFans banning?

A phone with the OnlyFans logo.
Reuters
The porn performer Stoya talks about the precarity of OnlyFans after its pivot and reversal.
  • Scott Nover
By Scott Nover

Emerging tech reporter

Published Last updated on

The porn website OnlyFans announced last week it is pivoting away from porn. But based on its new guidelines, what it’s doing is well beyond positioning itself as a safe-for-work platform for content creators; it’s largely ditching the product that made it popular

After saying it will ban “sexually explicit” content starting on Oct. 1, OnlyFans updated its terms of service this weekend to specify what exactly it means by that:

So what’s allowed? It sounds like OnlyFans will still allow most nude images, so long as they are not “extreme or offensive” but it will ban anything else you might consider pornographic.

OnlyFans, a British company that took off during the pandemic, amassed 130 million users, and generated $2 billion in sales in 2020, has not yet explained why it decided to ditch porn in detail, instead blaming it on ambiguous pressure from financial firms. An OnlyFans spokesperson told Quartz the move was made “to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers.”

OnlyFans clarified that obstacles from banking partners led to the change. Credit card companies including Visa and Mastercard cut off PornHub last year in response to a New York Times column that alleged insufficient content moderation practices, which has drawn outcry from sex workers and digital rights activists who claim financial companies want to police speech online.

This story was updated on Tuesday to clarify that Mastercard’s new policies were not the reason for OnlyFans’ decision, according to the company. 

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