Christians condemn OnlyFans U-turn on explicit content

OnlyFans' decision to suspend an adult content ban amounts to "corporate greed trumping corporate responsibility", says a Christian campaign group. 

The subscription-based content-sharing platform - best known for hosting porn - announced last week it would no longer allow sexually explicit content from 1 October following pressure from banks and payment processors. 

But OnlyFans now says it has "suspended the planned 1 October policy change".

"The proposed 1 October 2021 changes are no longer required, due to banking partners' assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators," it said. 

It is not clear whether the move is temporary or permanent.

CARE called the U-turn "shameful" and a letdown for victims of exploitation.  

"It's clear what happened here. OnlyFans realised curbing sexually explicit content would affect its profits," said Lauren Agnew, Human Trafficking Officer at the charity.

"Financial backers who initially raised concerns about content on the site and pressured the company towards a ban have either changed their minds or been replaced by others willing to turn a blind eye to concerns.

"This is a classic case of corporate greed trumping corporate responsibility. It is a shameful."

She expressed concerns that, without the ban, vulnerable people could be "coerced" into commercial sexual exploitation. 

"It is not obvious when viewing content whether a content creator is being controlled," she said.

"Banning sexually explicit content would have disincentivized this form of exploitation on the site by making it unprofitable.

"A curb of content could also have helped site moderators eliminate extreme content." 

A BBC investigation previously raised concerns around illegal explicit content, some reportedly involving under-18s. 

In response, OnlyFans said, "We do not tolerate any violation of our terms of service, and we take immediate action to uphold the safety and security of our users."

Commenting on the platform's change in direction, Agnew said the decision would "come as a blow to women".

"Many groups think pornographic content demeans women and perpetuates dangerous ideas that put them at risk," she said. 

"There is a correlation between pornography consumption and sexual violence in society. Porn enforces the idea that women are sexual objects to be used and abused. A curb by OnlyFans would have been a pushback against the dominance of the global porn industry."