Since its creation in 2016, OnlyFans has become a hub for women to take advantage of their bodies and support themselves while doing so. The site allowed women to release pornography that was consensual and ethical, two things that are often unseen in the porn industry. OnlyFans quickly became one of the most popular places for sex workers, a majority of them being women, to sell explicit photos and videos.
That was until OnlyFans announced that as of October 1, 2021, the platform will be banning all pornography. OnlyFans developed a new set of terms and conditions, allegedly to appease investors who were unhappy with the website’s mainly adult market. While having constraints on what pornography is allowed has always been a part of OnlyFans terms and conditions, this complete ban further wages the war against sex workers, and stole the livelihood of many with nearly no warning.
A majority of porn posted to the internet is done so without consent, or the women featured are severely underpaid. The internet is also filled with revenge porn, a photo or video of a sexual act posted in spite of someone, and content created by or including underage girls. Websites like PornHub.com allow users to anonymously post content with little to no verification.
These issues are part of the reason why OnlyFans was so revolutionary when it was first released. The website cut out all middle men and allowed creators to have full body autonomy. The site also included an extensive verification process that required creators to confirm their age and identity with a photo I.D. Suddenly, sex workers were seizing control over the pornography industry like never before.
The total control is a part of the reason why I chose to begin producing explicit content. Everything published was done so by me, and aside from the small percentage taken by OnlyFans, I was able to keep all of the earnings made from my content. This was a huge deal and success for sex workers, because the porn industry is notorious for underpaying actresses featured in their content.
When OnlyFans announced their decision to ban all pornography, I was shocked. The UK-based platform has been known as a safe space for sex workers and consumers, as a site that allows creators to charge a price they believe is fair for their content, and gives them total control over the content being put out. It seemed as though there may be a platform that has the best intentions for sex workers, and is made with us in mind.
But after raking in millions of dollars made from the profit percentage on adult content creators, the website has denounced all sex work. What once was a safe space for creators to feel empowered by their bodies, sex workers are again left with no platform to protect their legal rights or reach a wider audience. As previously stated, the site claims that this is due to investors mandating the banning of pornography on OnlyFans.
Yet, this leaves a lot of room for questions. The website has been running as an adult content-friendly platform for five years now, and while there have been changes made to the terms and conditions, there has never before been a threat of banning all adult content. So, why now? The website has over two million users, and has profited two billion dollars from the content produced by sex workers.
It appears as though the platform created a false sense of security for sex workers and promised them safety just for profit. Now that the website is successful and has made billions in revenue, they no longer need the profits provided by sex work. OnlyFans has left their content creators high and dry as sex workers across the world panic.
Many of us rely solely on OnlyFans to support ourselves. Over the last two and a half years, I have relied nearly completely on OnlyFans to put me through college. Doing this allows me to spend more time on campus or at home dedicating time to my academics. And there is a plethora of women in similar dilemmas. Single moms who produce content have spoken out against this banning paired with the alarmingly short notice.
Pornography is forever evolving, and it is not going away any time soon. As long as there is a demand for adult content, there will always be a supply. By banning pornography, OnlyFans is only limiting the safe spaces sex workers have access to. They are also leaving creators with no financial compensation or break on profit percentages, despite giving less than two months’ notice that they would be cutting off the livelihoods of so many.