Why did OnlyFans quickly unban sexual content after banning it?

As you are probably aware, OnlyFans created some big controversy in August when, on August 19th, they announced that they would begin banning Sexually Explicit content. However only a few days later on August 25th, they reversed their decision. Sadly for a lot of content creators who rely on this as their main source of income, the damage was already done. So let me give you the quick blow by blow, pun intended, of what happened with this whole mess and why it was reversed. Let’s discuss the “OnlyFans Ban Sexual Content” scandal.

Banks brought us here.

The simple answer to why they decided originally on the ban is the banks. In December of 2020 you may be aware that PornHub did a mass deletion of content on their website, but sadly for them it was too late. This was after images of rape and child sex abuse were found on the website however, so I don’t feel sorry for them personally, they had enough money to be able to prevent this, but I digress. When the New York Times posted their investigative report of these findings about PornHub, both MasterCard and Visa pulled their services from the site. Even now you can only pay for PornHub paid content with Crypto and Bank Transfers.

That is what sparked a bigger issue. If you use Paxum for example or any other payment service, behind the scenes they work with Intermediary banks to make sending and receiving funds and credit card payments possible. All of these services, and OnlyFans, rely on the world’s banks to be able to take payment from Credit and Debit Cards as well as to hold their money. After the PornHub issue, throughout 2023 a huge number of the world’s largest banks began removing themselves from processing anything that was even close to sexual content. OnlyFans had already been struggling to gain investor funds due to their proximity to the porn industry and the founder became worried that if the banks blocked them, the whole business would drop. Thus they decided to go ahead with the ban.

Why was it reversed?

It was only six days later after a massive backlash from content creators who started seeing a massive drop in subscribers, which obviously also began to thrash the bottom line of OnlyFans itself, the company decided to make a U-Turn.

The company tweeted that it had “secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community.” The decision came a day after the CEO attributed the porn ban to banks which would “cite reputation risk and refuse our business.” OnlyFans executives told the FT that Stokely’s comments had sparked open discussion between banks and the company.

The Damage is Done

Despite this U-Turn, a significant percentage of content creators have left the platform and vowed never to return, having felt betrayed by the platform. On top of this, those who stayed will now need to rebuild a percentage of their income. It begs the question, why OnlyFans didn’t simply talk to the banks behind closed doors before making such a huge decision, or had they already done this, being left no options until the drop in income put some pressure on a smaller payment processor. We will probably never know the answer to this.

The key here is that OnlyFans, unlike PornHub, can still process payments via credit card. At least for the short term.

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