When adult content creators get pushed off an internet platform, especially a site as big as OnlyFans, it's not as simple as moving your content to a new site; losing a platform means losing a hard-earned audience that creators can only hope will follow them to the next one. "Creators are reliant on having a fan base dedicated enough to find them again whenever this happens and some drop off is inevitable," Sim-Wise said. "Platforms going down or certain content being suddenly banned represents a huge loss in income for most and oftentimes it happens with no prior warning which means you always have to be on your toes and ready to start again from scratch at a moment’s notice." Adult content creator Lily Marquis told me that the most exhausting thing about all of this is the lack of clarity and communication from the company. "I've *never* felt OnlyFans had any real respect for any of its NSFW 'creators,' especially creators who weren't skinny, white, and cis, but it really fucking rings through with this," Marquis said. "No news, no message anywhere accessible, just a statement given to media outlets... It's clear, as it always has been, that they don't give even the slightest shit about us. And now sex workers like myself get to watch people joke about the platform tanking as we wonder about how we'll pay rent. I'm heartbroken, frustrated, and exhausted."
“It's clear, as it always has been, that they don't give even the slightest shit about us”
A spokesperson OnlyFans declined to comment on these responses from support, but said that the company would be "sharing more details in the coming days." WHAT'S NEXT Several content creators I spoke to said they planned to find a new platform. Some sites, like Just For Fans and FanCentro, have integrated migration systems that will move content over. Other sites include ManyVids, and Pornhub's Modelhub program—OnlyFans is far from the only platform in the game right now. "The best thing adult creators can do right now is hold tight, back up their content and not do anything rash," Sim-Wise said. She suggests waiting for more details on the updated guidelines, deleting anything that goes against the new rules, and researching other platforms in the meantime."If you can, set up a survey for your fans where you can collect their emails to create a mailing list so that you still have a way to contact them should you lose your platforms," she said. Every time a platform goes down, people are left in the lurch—and they have to make up that income to survive. "The reality is that being pushed off online platforms will ultimately lead directly to performers looking for income offline," Lena, a former full service sex worker, told me. They said that during the pandemic, they met several full service workers who were happily growing their OnlyFans, and were excited to exit in-person work.
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As workers scramble to figure out how to stay afloat post-OnlyFans, anti-porn groups are celebrating the change. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (formerly called Morality in Media), which consulted with Rep. Ann Wagner in a letter to the DOJ demanding an investigation into OnlyFans, took credit for influencing the change in a press release. NCOSE consistently pressures politicians to investigate or take stances against pornography, under the guise of anti-trafficking work. One of the easiest things politicians can get behind is child sexual abuse and sex trafficking; it's why FOSTA, a failure in every way, was passed in an overwhelming majority vote."[Mastercard and Visa] have controlled what is and what is not allowed online for decades, using their market power to harm millions of sex workers, this is just the most visible effort since PornHub," said Mary Moody, a founding board member at the Adult Industry Laborers & Artists Association. "It's going to kill sex workers and that blood is on [CEO fo Mastercard] Michael Miebach, MasterCard, and Visa's hands." "I’m angry our deeply sex-negative, whorephobic society allows lying evangelicals and SWERFs [sex-worker exclusionary feminists] to dictate the limits of our freedom of speech and put sex workers’ lives and livelihoods in jeopardy for no benefit to anyone," Cathy Reisenwitz, writer of Sex and the State and OnlyFans creator, said. "Every problem, from child sexual abuse material to trafficking, that banning porn is supposed to solve is actually exacerbated by stigmatizing and criminalizing online porn.”OnlyFans made $2.2 billion last year from the type of content it's announced it will ban in October—and it's just one company hosting adult content. The demand for adult entertainment is massive, and sex workers and adult content creators have shown time and again their ability to withstand such attacks on their livelihoods. Deplatforming sex won't change either of those facts; the industry will continue to exist, and its consumers will keep seeking it out. The result of pushing sex work to the margins isn't a safer industry, but a more vulnerable, devalued, and exploitable workforce. "OnlyFans is the latest to cave in a long, hypocritical tradition of prioritizing the moral concerns of major financial institutions by deplatforming the very people responsible for the website’s success: sex workers," Lia Holland, Campaigns & Communications Director at Fight for the Future, told me. "Banning sexual content is not going to make anyone safer—in fact, it will put sex workers in harm’s way by eliminating a safer revenue stream for a lot of marginalized folks. It is laughable that OnlyFans would call this an 'inclusive' move when it literally excludes the primary marginalized community that has been using their services to generate safer, sustainable income since its inception.”
“Every problem, from child sexual abuse material to trafficking, that banning porn is supposed to solve is actually exacerbated by stigmatizing and criminalizing online porn.”