OnlyPrudes: OnlyFans, The Platform For Sexually Explicit Content, Says No More Sexually Explicit Content (Except For Nudes)
from the none-of-this-makes-sense dept
To some extent, it was only a matter of time until this issue came up. OnlyFans has grown massively over the last year (demonstrating, yet again, that the idea that the internet ecosystem is “settled” and that Facebook/Google control all is not necessarily true). However, as most people know, OnlyFans’ success is built on basically creating a paywall for adult content from fans willing to subscribe to certain individuals in order to gain access to paid-only pictures and videos. It has had a tremendous impact especially for sex workers who had their careers shattered by FOSTA a few years ago, which forced a bunch of platforms sex workers relied on to shut down.
But, because it involves sex and adult content, sooner or later people were going to complain. And, complain they did. On Thursday OnlyFans announced that it was banning “sexually explicit” content, though it said it’s still allowing nudity.
Effective October 1, 2021, OnlyFans will prohibit the posting of any content containing sexually explicit conduct. In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines. Creators will continue to be allowed to post content containing nudity as long as it is consistent with our Acceptable Use Policy.
What does that even mean? It’s extremely unclear. The “Acceptable Use Policy” doesn’t seem to define any difference between sexually explicit and nude content. Instead, it focuses on having the rights to the content you’re posting and not posting illegal content. I can’t wait for the content moderation case study exploring how OnlyFans distinguishes merely “nude” with “sexually explicit.” That’ll be a fun one.
Of course, there’s a lot likely happening behind the scenes here. Just two days earlier OnlyFans announced a separate app of non-adult content, while simultaneously noting that it was having difficulty finding investors, despite its overwhelming success.
It wouldn’t be a surprise for it to eventually come out that part of the issue is… FOSTA. The same law that created such a mess for sex workers since it was passed was likely always a potential risk for OnlyFans. The company is saying that many of its partners — especially in the financial world — were getting cold feet. According to Bloomberg, who broke the news:
The changes are needed because of mounting pressure from banking partners and payment providers, according to the company.
And, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Remember, payment and banking partners have long been a target for government officials when they want to crack down on things they don’t like — especially sex related things.
Sex workers are already speaking out about this. Cathy Reisenwitz, from Sex and the State put out a statement:
??OnlyFans was the most empowering way for adult creators to connect with our audience. I?ve benefited tremendously from OF personally. But at the end of the day I?ll be fine. I can?t say that about sex workers who depended on OF. Many of them are going to have to turn to in-person sex work, made all the more dangerous by SESTA/FOSTA, to make ends meet. I?m angry our deeply sex-negative, whorephobic society allows lying evangelicals and SWERFs to dictate the limits of our freedom of speech and put sex workers? lives and livelihoods in jeopardy for no benefit to anyone. Every problem, from CSAM to trafficking, that banning porn is supposed to solve is actually exacerbated by stigmatizing and criminalizing online porn.
There are many reasons why some of us think we should be moving to a world where the internet has fewer chokepoints where policymakers and moral panic purveyors can put pressure on just a small handful of companies to choke off speech. Yes, obviously, OnlyFans has every right to decide how it wants to manage its own platform, but the key point here is that this doesn’t seem to be OnlyFans doing this because it thinks it’s best for the site, or for its users (either creators or fans). Rather, it’s because of the intermediaries stepping in to tell them what is and what is not allowed.