The Evolution Of OnlyFans & Its Backtracking Of Explicit Content

Man browses the OnlyFans website on his phone.
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Launched in 2016, the subscription service OnlyFans was initially imagined as a simple platform for creators -- musicians, YouTubers, fitness instructors -- to post exclusive content for fans.

Over the years, however, OnlyFans became a space dominated by sex workers, who have used the platform to sell sexually explicit photos and videos.

After building its business on the backs of sex workers, OnlyFans announced last week that it would no longer allow sexually explicit material.

This led to backlash from creators and users alike, forcing the company to reverse course.

What Led To The Ban?

According to Variety, pressure from banks and credit card companies led to the short-lasting ban on explicit content.

The company's founder and CEO Tim Stokely made that clear in an interview earlier this month, when he revealed that the UK-based Metro Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of New York Mellon are refusing to process sex work-related payments.

OnlyFans is said to have more than 130 million registered users and over two million creators, and processes $300 million in creator payouts per month.

OnlyFans Backtracks

OnlyFans formally reversed its decision to ban sexually explicit content on Wednesday, saying that the proposed policy changes "are no longer required due to banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators."

"Thank you to everyone for making your voices heard. We have secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community and have suspended the planned October 1 policy change. OnlyFans stands for inclusion and we will continue to provide a home for all creators."

The company stressed that it "secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community."

Competitors

OnlyFans is not the only online platform sex workers can use to sell their services. The ban on explicit content, though it's been reversed, has forced many creators to leave the company.

As The New York Times reported, the site Justfor.fans appears to be OnlyFans' main competitor.

According to its founder Dominic Ford, Justfor.fans now has more than 14,000 verified creators. Two thousand of them joined the platform as soon as OnlyFans announced its explicit content ban, while many others joined Formyfans.

Platforms For Sex Workers

Woman uses her laptop in bed.
Unsplash | Charles Deluvio

There are several other platforms sex workers can use instead of OnlyFans.

Per Business Insider, FanCentro, PocketStars, ManyVids, AVN Stars, IsMyGirl, and Frisk all offer similar services.

PocketStars, for example, is focused on LGBTQ sex workers. Frisk, on the other hand, allows users to follow models and subscribe to them, while FanCentro encourages users with quests and achievements, like a video game.

As the outlet noted, all of these platforms have grown considerably amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced millions to stay home.