OnlyFans' content creators will have to pivot at least part of their business by Oct. 1 when the company plans to start banning sexually explicit content. The platform, which it says has over 150 million users and over 1.5 million content creators, announced a change to its content guidelines on Aug. 19.
Since OnlyFans is mainly popular for its pornographic content, it’s understandable that content creators and platform users are concerned about the new shift in the types of content allowed.
Why OnlyFans is banning content
Why would OnlyFans make a decision that could drastically reduce its revenue and frustrate its most profitable creators? According to the company, the main reason is to comply with requests from banking and payment providers.
OnlyFans might be taking a lesson from Pornhub, which lost partnerships with Mastercard and Visa last year due to alleged child sexual abuse material. Pornhub implemented stricter content guidelines and aimed to prohibit unverified users from uploading content.
Currently, OnlyFans isn’t publicly traded. Although OnlyFans isn’t just targeted towards adult material, that's the most popular segment on the site. The company said that it had to “evolve” its content guidelines to help ensure the platform’s sustainability.
Content creators will have to refer to OnlyFans’ “Acceptable Use Policy” and follow the company’s announcements for any changes to the requirements. OnlyFans says that it will still permit certain posts that contain nudity if they don't violate its policy.
Content that's prohibited on OnlyFans includes illegal or harmful content as well as content involving people under 18 years old. More details are likely forthcoming.
OnlyFans was launched in 2016 by British entrepreneur Tim Stokely. In the past, very little has been prohibited in the online subscription service. As USA Today reported last year, mainstream stars like Bella Thorne and Cardi B have joined and started earning money.
The platform enables creators to set their own monthly subscription fees and have the autonomy to choose what content they share. They have been able to charge fees to view materials deemed “not safe for work,” said CNBC. Content creators on YouTube and Instagram have been subjected to much stricter guidelines.
Some adult entertainers have been using OnlyFans in conjunction with the work they do with other pornography sites. So, the new restrictions could hurt their earning potential.
In 2020, OnlyFans had net revenue of $375 million, according to an Axios report. Based on the run rate through the first quarter of 2021, this year’s revenue could reach $1.2 billion.
What happened to Tumblr?
Many predict that OnlyFans’ revised guidelines will cause its downfall. They compared the company’s new ban on pornographic content to that of Tumblr in 2018. Many Tumblr creators lost revenue due to the changes, although other segments of the business are still active. Recently, Tumblr launched a blogger subscription feature.
About 300 of the top content creators on OnlyFans earn over $1 million per year and 16,000 of them earn about $50,000 annually, according to CNBC. These earnings could diminish significantly when the new guidelines take effect.