OnlyFans to ban sexually explicit content amid abuse allegations
Last May, the BBC revealed the platform is too flexible with its controls on illegal content and prioritizes the profitability of its business.
Erotic videos made the British platform OnlyFans grow rapidly during the pandemic, from 20 million users at its start to 130 million today.
Porn stars and sex workers on the platform found a direct connection to customers around the world. But outside of erotic content, it has also been seized by actors, actresses, musicians, fitness teachers and others,who saw an opportunity to solve the crisis of pandemic confinement by offering services from the virtual world.
However, OnlyFans' strategy up to this point has been to relax controls on illegal content, which was exposed in May by the BBC. Specifically, it learned of internal documents showing how content moderators are given several warnings to send before closing accounts that publish illegal content.
The illegal content is related to human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
On Thursday, Aug. 19, the platform announced that starting in October, it will ban the publication of sexually explicit content, but not nude images if they conform to new requirements not yet published.
"To ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform and continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines," the platform said when announcing the new measures.
OnlyFans was created in 2016 by Tim Stokely, who still runs it. It is owned by the Ukrainian-American Leonid Radvinsky.
In its information on Friday, the BBC recalled that "101 members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the content of OnlyFans, focusing primarily on child sexual exploitation."
The BBC, supported by child protection experts, has said that the platform "maintains a certain 'tolerance' towards accounts that publish illegal content." It further notes that moderates consulted "have found advertisements for prostitution services, bestiality and material that appears to be incest." It even revealed that in one day to have discovered more than 2,000 illegal photos and videos.
But that's not all. The British media conglomerate also showcased one of the examples as a video of a man who "pays homeless people to have sex with him in front of the camera."
Following the complaint about the flexibility in controls, OnlyFans responded that "we do not tolerate any violations of our terms of service and will take immediate action to maintain the safety of our users."