The OnlyFans was Founded by British businessman Tim Stokely in 2016, OnlyFans has risen in popularity in recent years only, thanks in large part to its hosting of clips and photos from adult performers. The platform lets sex workers charge their fans a fee to view “not safe for work” material.
OnlyFans boomed during the coronavirus pandemic, as internet users stuck at home searched for entertainment online and people let go from their jobs turned to the platform as an alternative way to make a living.
OnlyFans claims to have over 130 million users and 2 million content creators. The company generated net revenue of $375 million last year, according to an Axios report Thursday, which cited an investor deck. OnlyFans expects to hit $1.2 billion in revenues this year, and $2.5 billion by 2022, Axios reported.
More than 300 OnlyFans creators reportedly earn at least $1 million annually, while 16,000 creators make at least $50,000 a year.
With numbers like that, you’d think venture capitalists would be lining up to write a check for OnlyFans. However, according to Axios, many investors are steering clear due to concerns over its adult content. Some venture funds are prohibited from investing in sexual content sites due to agreements with their institutional backers.
Last December, Mastercard, and Visa all announced that they would suspend payments to Pornhub, one of the web’s largest porn sites, following allegations that the site had hosted child sexual abuse material. In response, Pornhub scrubbed its site of all videos that weren’t produced by verified partners and implemented a verification program that all users would need to undergo if they wanted to post adult content. Though Visa later agreed to restore service to some adult sites owned by Pornhub’s parent, MindGeek, Pornhub itself remains cut off from credit card processors.
Because of all this, the U.K.-based content subscription service said on Thursday that it will no longer allow “sexually explicit” content as of Oct. 1. OnlyFans said the decision was taken to comply with requests from its banking and payment providers. In a statement, Only Fans said “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,”
On Thursday official said that OnlyFans would allow certain posts containing nudity, so long as they adhere to its “Acceptable Use Policy.” It’s not clear how that will work in practice. OnlyFans’ terms of service outline a number of things that are prohibited from its platform, including material involving people under age 18 and other illegal or harmful content.
The company officials also said that “We will be sharing more details in the coming days and we will actively support and guide our creators through this change in content guidelines,”.
For many, performing on the app is a lifeline: Some who lost their jobs during the pandemic turned to share explicit videos of themselves on OnlyFans to help pay the bills. Many of these sex workers are now expressing outrage at what they view as OnlyFans’s betrayal of a community that enabled the platform’s massive success.