OnlyFans is making a shady attempt to build Gilead under the guise of women’s lib

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The Guardian 21 August, 2021 - 07:22am 22 views

Is Onlyfans banning sex workers?

OnlyFans, an online platform synonymous with sex work, has announced it will be banning sexually explicit content in a bid to protect the "long-term sustainability" of the business. The platform has skyrocketed in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 130 million people using the service. ABC NewsExplicit content banned from OnlyFans but 'the show has to go on', say sex workers

Why is anyone still defending OnlyFans? | The Spectator

Spectator.co.uk 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

As soon as the announcement was made, the narrative quickly focused on how unfair and discriminatory this move was, with many saying that the victims of the ban would be ‘sex workers’. The BBC suggested the porn ban would be a ‘“kick in the teeth” for creators’. And one commentator argued, ‘OnlyFans grew off the back of sex workers, who found a safe haven in the platform to charge their fans for access to explicit photos and videos. Unfortunately, there remains a stigma in the world surrounding sex…’

OnlyFans is perceived as a safe, consequence-free way to sell sex and home-grown porn that ‘empowers’ women. But it is anything but. The content remains on the internet forever, and often women are publicly identified which hits them hard in later life. It also has an effect on male consumers: men are literally ordering exploitative sexual scenarios from women in order to fit their violent and abusive fantasies. To think that this can have little or no effect on men in the real world is as stupid as it is irresponsible. With many brothels closing down or going bust during the pandemic, it would be surprising if men with an eye on how to make money from exploiting young women didn't turn their attention to OnlyFans instead.

But why has selling sex – either from behind a screen or in a hotel room – become so normalised? How did we get to the point where it is seen as regular work? Kim Kelly, author of the forthcoming book, Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labour argues that ‘OnlyFans would be nothing without the sex workers whose labour built it up into a major platform. Now it’s tossing them aside, and removing a vital source of income from a population of workers who are disproportionately marginalized and have no protections under US labour law.’ But unionisation does not and cannot protect women (or men) selling sex on OnlyFans.

Prostitution apologists argue that treating commercial sexual exploitation as ‘sex work’ would make preventing ‘forced’ prostitution and trafficking easier. They suggest that by acknowledging prostitution as a legitimate form of ‘work’, prostitutes would then have access to a range of resources to protect them (such as legislation, grievance processes, or officially recognised unions). But where prostituted women are officially recognised as ‘workers’, such as in the legal brothels of Holland, Germany, Switzerland or Nevada, rates of violence, coercion and health risks are higher, and the women are not protected by so-called ‘employment rights’.

A BBC investigation found that children as young as 14 were being exploited on the site. In response, OnlyFans told the BBC it has a ‘zero tolerance policy relating to child sexual abuse material’. In the US, the vice president of the National Centre on Missing and Exploited Children revealed that, ‘In 2019 there were around a dozen children known to be missing being linked with content on OnlyFans. Last year the number of those cases nearly tripled.’

Why is OnlyFans’ potential ban on porn being lamented by so many liberals? Vulnerable young women desperate for cash are even being encouraged by universities to take up all manner of forms of prostitution, including lap dancing, escorting, and making online videos. Why aren’t they trying to financially support students and protect them from predators instead?

The sex trade, in all its forms, is made up predominantly by women, and in particular those from the most marginalised backgrounds and horrendous circumstances. How can the sex trade ever be a safe place for women, when it is built on abuse, exploitation and misery?

Despite the propaganda, only a handful of women are making millions on OnlyFans. The average earnings are in fact £120 per month and most accounts take home less than £102. Nor is the site safe, as I discovered when talking to women who have been stalked, harassed and followed home by ‘clients’ that have managed to trace them. Many of those women face psychological damage after being coerced into dressing up as schoolgirls and acting out rape and childhood sexual abuse fantasies on behalf of their ‘clients’.

However it is dressed up, OnlyFans appears to be nothing more and nothing less than a pimping site, and no amount of sanitisation will change that. Banning pornographic content is a step in the right direction. The thing to do when a woman is hungry is not to encourage her into prostitution and excuse the men abusing her, but to find other ways to put food in her mouth.

Julie Bindel is a feminist campaigner against sexual violence

Content creators react to OnlyFans ban

CBS 8 San Diego 21 August, 2021 - 10:00pm

OnlyFans acknowledges 'sex workers' for the first time on Twitter

Mashable 21 August, 2021 - 02:26pm

The tweet directly addresses "sex workers," and uses the hashtag #SexWorkIsWork, while offering no solutions for a new anti-sexually explicit content policy it has rolled out that makes existing on the platform in a way of the creators' choosing impossible. But sure, #SexWorkIsWork!

Sex workers have been posting that they are leaving OnlyFans, and they're criticizing the company's decision after it happily took 20 percent of sex workers' revenue for years before suddenly changing the rules in a way that threatens their livelihood.

That turn of events makes the tweet in which OnlyFans acknowledges the role sex workers have played in the platform's growth seem suspiciously disingenuous, to say the least — especially considering that it hasn't addressed sex work or sex workers on Twitter ever before, as Twitter users have pointed out, and a search shows.

In the replies to the tweet, self-identified sex workers criticized the company for promoting SFW content, and not the adult content creators. A search through the company's Instagram page indeed shows that the bikini and lingerie-clad women it promotes are described as "models" — not sex workers.

With sarcastic quote tweets and incredulous comments piling up, the tweet is on its way to getting ratioed.

Has OnlyFans been taking "how to apologize" cues from Andrew Cuomo? Because this "sorry not sorry" just doesn't cut it.

More in Social Media

OnlyFans publishes updated policy, which adds specific details about the explicit content that will be banned from October

Business Insider 21 August, 2021 - 12:00am

The update follows the company's initial announcement on Thursday, which said some sexually explicit content will be banned this year.

The updated Acceptable Use Policy, which will go into effect on October 1, was sent to some content creators on Friday. A bullet-pointed list of prohibited content included masturbation and sex — both simulated and actual. It also included "any exhibition of the anus or genitals of any person which is extreme or offensive." 

Content already on the site that would violate the new policy must be removed by December 1, the policy said.

"In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines," the company said in a statement on Thursday, telling Insider it would update its policy within a few days.

"My OnlyFans will be going through a revamp, in order to comply with the new policy, being enforced in October. In the mean time, more explicit content will be posted, until then," a Twitter user said on Saturday, adding, "The price of my OF will be lowered, when this happens, as there will no longer be sexually explicit content posted."

Other creators told Insider they planned to leave OnlyFans.

The company said it had more than 1 million creators and more than 100 million register users. 

Read More: OnlyFans is banning sexually explicit content. Here are 7 other platforms sex-work entrepreneurs can use, and the cut they take on each.

OnlyFans wasn't the first platform to reckon with sexually explicit content. Pornhub in December announced changes to its policies, including increasing the size of its moderation team. Reddit in March said it would continue hosting porn. Tumblr in 2018 banned all "adult content."  

When announcing its ban, Tumblr said: "There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community."

OnlyFans Stops Sex and Politicizes Payments | David Z. Morris - CoinDesk

CoinDesk 20 August, 2021 - 02:12pm

The decision seems insane on the face of it: OnlyFans is unilaterally turning its back on a business that has helped it grow immensely and rapidly. The company’s financials are apparently bananas, with a company pitch deck from March projecting $1.2 billion in net revenue for 2021.

That could have made tiny OnlyFans more profitable than Tesla, but those numbers are out the window now. Though nominally the platform is “pivoting” towards non-sex content like cooking lessons, yesterday’s announcement almost certainly amounts to simply abandoning a giant, cash-spewing firehose.

They’re also screwing (pun intended) a lot of sex workers: In a statement, the Adult Performance Artists Guild said that “most content creators on Onlyfans are … adult performers who make their entire living off of the platform.” The Guild predicted the change would cause a “crisis” of “financial despair and destruction.”

The explanation for this bizarre behavior turns out to be both fairly simple and deeply disturbing. As OnlyFans spelled out in a statement to the media, “These changes are to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers.”

One of these, according to the Daily Beast, is Mastercard, which announced in April that it would impose and police content moderation policies for any adult businesses it serviced – with an implied threat to cut off those that didn’t or couldn’t comply. Banks and processors see risk because “the pornography industry is high risk for money laundering, human exploitation and illicit activities,” as one Suspicious Activity Report unearthed by Forensic News put it.

OnlyFans has also struggled to attract outside investment despite its big profits, due in part to venture capital policies barring investment in the adult industry out of fear of liability. But the looming threat of a payments cutoff is likely just as big a headwind to the OnlyFans pitch.

This isn’t a new or isolated phenomena. Pornhub has been dropped by Visa, Mastercard and PayPal. Individual adult performers have had their bank accounts closed thanks to a pressure campaign by the U.S. Department of Justice. In 2018, Patreon cracked down on adult content partly under pressure from credit card processors. In fact, a big reason OnlyFans has grown was that it was one of the few places online where performers could still get paid through conventional channels. 

Now, to take a step back, there are some good reasons to wish OnlyFans didn’t exist, or at least to be very nervous about it. It has been a powerful tool for a large number of professional sex workers, but it does genuinely create risks, particularly for more marginalized users. Just as Facebook and YouTube have struggled to police harmful, abusive or false content, OnlyFans would likely have faced a daunting task in detecting and preventing human trafficking and child sexual abuse on its platform. Above all, it would seem very difficult to figure out if someone is being coerced to perform.

(Facebook, for the record, is far more widely used for sharing child sexual material than any porn site.)

But even if you’re deeply worried about this, that this shutdown is being forced by banks and credit card companies should be nothing to celebrate. Adult content, after all, is protected by the Constitution of the United States, where both Visa and Mastercard are headquartered. In withdrawing their services, they’re essentially acting as censors, without any democratic, legislative or judicial due process.

I use the word “censor” advisedly here, because this isn’t a unilateral decision by the banks: Along with anti-porn pressure groups, the U.S. government itself has helped coerce banks to adopt anti-porn policies. The clearest evidence we have of this is an Obama-era Department of Justice program called “Operation Choke Point” that pressured banks to drop clients in industries from porn to payday lending to firearms.

Bankers, to their credit, didn’t go along with this entirely quietly. The program, according to critics in the financial industry, forced bankers to act like judges and put disproportionate strain on smaller banks with fewer compliance staff. The program was formally ended in 2017 (presumably mostly thanks to the Trump administration’s deep ties to the payday lending industry), but it seems to have convinced banks that the risk of future similar actions is still live.

This politicization of the payments system seems likely to get increasingly heavy-handed, simply because it’s a lever that’s easy for the government to pull. It’s right there on the tin: The banks and processors are a single, easily pressured “choke point” with massive potential to influence the practices of, well, pretty much anyone the government lays its eyes on.

That reality has helped make cryptocurrency an attractive alternative for some adult businesses. Pornhub, believe it or not, offers tether on Tron as a payout method for its contributors. More broadly, the politicization of the payments system drives home the absolute social necessity of a neutral and ungoverned payments layer, such as cryptocurrency, as the digital world grows in importance.

It’s a well-worn argument, but one that bears repeating: Even if you happen to agree with agendas like limiting porn or guns or extortionate payday loans, you must consider the end game of banking censorship. The same expedient logic that makes choking out porn platforms seem sensible could, in even more malicious hands, be applied to abortion providers or political dissidents or any number of even more obviously Orwellian targets.

A final bitter pill is that OnlyFans is almost certainly doomed to fail in its shift away from sex. It may find takers for subscription cooking lessons and home decorating tips, but it will be a much smaller and less profitable business. The obvious parallel here is to Tumblr, a pioneering social image site whose users shared a lot of porn as part of a larger subversive culture, but banned porn after being acquired by Yahoo! Predictably enough, Tumblr became a ghost town.

Investors almost certainly know the story of Tumblr, and exactly which direction OnlyFans’ revenue is going to be heading. So now they’ll have an entirely different reason not to invest.

OnlyFans Stops Sex and Politicizes Payments | David Z. Morris - CoinDesk

Insider 20 August, 2021 - 02:12pm

The decision seems insane on the face of it: OnlyFans is unilaterally turning its back on a business that has helped it grow immensely and rapidly. The company’s financials are apparently bananas, with a company pitch deck from March projecting $1.2 billion in net revenue for 2021.

That could have made tiny OnlyFans more profitable than Tesla, but those numbers are out the window now. Though nominally the platform is “pivoting” towards non-sex content like cooking lessons, yesterday’s announcement almost certainly amounts to simply abandoning a giant, cash-spewing firehose.

They’re also screwing (pun intended) a lot of sex workers: In a statement, the Adult Performance Artists Guild said that “most content creators on Onlyfans are … adult performers who make their entire living off of the platform.” The Guild predicted the change would cause a “crisis” of “financial despair and destruction.”

The explanation for this bizarre behavior turns out to be both fairly simple and deeply disturbing. As OnlyFans spelled out in a statement to the media, “These changes are to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers.”

One of these, according to the Daily Beast, is Mastercard, which announced in April that it would impose and police content moderation policies for any adult businesses it serviced – with an implied threat to cut off those that didn’t or couldn’t comply. Banks and processors see risk because “the pornography industry is high risk for money laundering, human exploitation and illicit activities,” as one Suspicious Activity Report unearthed by Forensic News put it.

OnlyFans has also struggled to attract outside investment despite its big profits, due in part to venture capital policies barring investment in the adult industry out of fear of liability. But the looming threat of a payments cutoff is likely just as big a headwind to the OnlyFans pitch.

This isn’t a new or isolated phenomena. Pornhub has been dropped by Visa, Mastercard and PayPal. Individual adult performers have had their bank accounts closed thanks to a pressure campaign by the U.S. Department of Justice. In 2018, Patreon cracked down on adult content partly under pressure from credit card processors. In fact, a big reason OnlyFans has grown was that it was one of the few places online where performers could still get paid through conventional channels. 

Now, to take a step back, there are some good reasons to wish OnlyFans didn’t exist, or at least to be very nervous about it. It has been a powerful tool for a large number of professional sex workers, but it does genuinely create risks, particularly for more marginalized users. Just as Facebook and YouTube have struggled to police harmful, abusive or false content, OnlyFans would likely have faced a daunting task in detecting and preventing human trafficking and child sexual abuse on its platform. Above all, it would seem very difficult to figure out if someone is being coerced to perform.

(Facebook, for the record, is far more widely used for sharing child sexual material than any porn site.)

But even if you’re deeply worried about this, that this shutdown is being forced by banks and credit card companies should be nothing to celebrate. Adult content, after all, is protected by the Constitution of the United States, where both Visa and Mastercard are headquartered. In withdrawing their services, they’re essentially acting as censors, without any democratic, legislative or judicial due process.

I use the word “censor” advisedly here, because this isn’t a unilateral decision by the banks: Along with anti-porn pressure groups, the U.S. government itself has helped coerce banks to adopt anti-porn policies. The clearest evidence we have of this is an Obama-era Department of Justice program called “Operation Choke Point” that pressured banks to drop clients in industries from porn to payday lending to firearms.

Bankers, to their credit, didn’t go along with this entirely quietly. The program, according to critics in the financial industry, forced bankers to act like judges and put disproportionate strain on smaller banks with fewer compliance staff. The program was formally ended in 2017 (presumably mostly thanks to the Trump administration’s deep ties to the payday lending industry), but it seems to have convinced banks that the risk of future similar actions is still live.

This politicization of the payments system seems likely to get increasingly heavy-handed, simply because it’s a lever that’s easy for the government to pull. It’s right there on the tin: The banks and processors are a single, easily pressured “choke point” with massive potential to influence the practices of, well, pretty much anyone the government lays its eyes on.

That reality has helped make cryptocurrency an attractive alternative for some adult businesses. Pornhub, believe it or not, offers tether on Tron as a payout method for its contributors. More broadly, the politicization of the payments system drives home the absolute social necessity of a neutral and ungoverned payments layer, such as cryptocurrency, as the digital world grows in importance.

It’s a well-worn argument, but one that bears repeating: Even if you happen to agree with agendas like limiting porn or guns or extortionate payday loans, you must consider the end game of banking censorship. The same expedient logic that makes choking out porn platforms seem sensible could, in even more malicious hands, be applied to abortion providers or political dissidents or any number of even more obviously Orwellian targets.

A final bitter pill is that OnlyFans is almost certainly doomed to fail in its shift away from sex. It may find takers for subscription cooking lessons and home decorating tips, but it will be a much smaller and less profitable business. The obvious parallel here is to Tumblr, a pioneering social image site whose users shared a lot of porn as part of a larger subversive culture, but banned porn after being acquired by Yahoo! Predictably enough, Tumblr became a ghost town.

Investors almost certainly know the story of Tumblr, and exactly which direction OnlyFans’ revenue is going to be heading. So now they’ll have an entirely different reason not to invest.

A $100 million venture capital round collapsed for Binance on fears the CEO owned too much of its independent US arm, report says

Newsweek 20 August, 2021 - 10:57am

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