The OnlyFans logo displayed on a laptop.
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OnlyFans prohibits what most users go to their website for: pornography.
The UK-based content subscription service said Thursday it would no longer allow “sexually explicit” content as of October 1. OnlyFans said the decision was made to meet the needs of its banking and payment providers.
“To ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform and continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we need to evolve our content guidelines,” OnlyFans said in a statement.
It comes after payment processors Mastercard and Visa cut ties with rival porn site Pornhub last year after the porn site showed videos containing underage sex, rape, and revenge porn. Pornhub rejected claims that it allowed child sexual abuse material, and then tightened its rules to ban uploads by unverified users.
“We will provide more details in the coming days and actively support and guide our creators with this change to the content guidelines,” said the company.
Founded in 2016 by British businessman Tim Stokely, OnlyFans has grown in popularity in recent years, largely thanks to hosting clips and photos of adult performers. On the platform, sex workers can charge their fans a fee to display “unsafe” material.
OnlyFans was booming during the coronavirus pandemic, when internet users stuck at home searched for entertainment online and let people quit their jobs and turn 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 had net sales of $ 375 million last year, according to an Axios report on Thursday quoting an investor deck. According to Axios, OnlyFans expects sales of $ 1.2 billion this year and $ 2.5 billion by 2022.
More than 300 OnlyFans creators reportedly make at least $ 1 million annually, while 16,000 YouTubers 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 distracting due to concerns about adult content. Some venture funds are prohibited from investing in websites with sexual content due to agreements with their institutional sponsors.
OnlyFans was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.
The move is likely to upset many OnlyFans content creators who rely on the service as their primary source of income. Many adult entertainers use OnlyFans to complement their work on other porn sites. Getting rid of the content OnlyFans is best known for could also have a big impact on revenue.
However, OnlyFans insists that it is more than just a platform for sex workers. Celebrities like Cardi B and Bella Thorne, for example, joined the platform last year. It is also used by chefs, fitness enthusiasts, and musicians. But porn is by far the most popular category on the site.
OnlyFans is majority-owned by Leonid Radvinsky, a Ukrainian-American porn entrepreneur. The company is looking for a round of funding worth more than $ 1 billion, according to a Bloomberg report.