OnlyFans has officially announced that it will be reversing its decision to ban explicit content on the platform. The announcement comes after a massive backlash from creators, users, and sex work advocates alike.
"Thank you to everyone for making your voices heard," the platform wrote on Twitter
The company may have changed its plans, but it's not entirely clear why.
The initial ban was made due to "requests" from OnlyFans' "banking partners and payout providers" and would have come into effect in October. In the reversal announcement, the company stated that it had received the necessary "assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community."
OnlyFans' ban announcement came a few months after MasterCard
"The banks that connect merchants to our network will need to certify that the seller of adult content has effective controls in place to monitor, block and, where necessary, take down all illegal content," MasterCard wrote in a statement.
The certifications MasterCard is asking for include documentation verifying the age of all individuals shown in content, pre-publication reviews, a 7-day complaint resolution timeline, an appeals process for individuals to request content depicting them be removed from the platform.
These requirements sound far from extreme, but according to tech experts, these requirements make it effectively "impossible for streaming platforms to comply with the new rules."
"Since they're not able to prescreen streamed content, they're [sic] just going to start blocking anything that seems like it might lead to MasterCard pulling the plug," Tim Cushing wrote for TechDirt.
In an interview with the Financial Times, OnlyFans CEO Tim Stokely said that the platform was already "fully compliant" with MasterCard's requirements and that these requirements had "no bearing" on the ban.
"They made this decision themselves," a MasterCard spokesperson told reporters.
Some insiders theorize the platform may have reversed its ban decision thanks to additional funding. However, Stokely stated that the company "didn't make this policy change to make it easier to find investors."
According to a report by Axios, despite having millions of users, Onlyfans can't seem to find investors willing to back a platform supporting sex work.
Stokely blamed the "unfair" treatment from banks like JPMorgan
Banning explicit content on platforms whose growth was largely fed by explicit content creators is nothing new, and payout providers are often cited as the cause. By 2018, after publicly courting and supporting sex workers for years while they grew the platform, Patreon announced that it would be banning adult content creators from the site. Creators were told that their accounts were suspended because of "implied nudity."