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In context: Look up OnlyFans on Wikipedia, and you'll find it's defined as an internet content subscription service—a description that could be applied to a site such as Patreon—but few people visit OF for the purpose of listening to podcasts. Yet despite users spending $3.9 billion on the platform in 2021, it wants to move away from its image as a paid-for porn site, just as its home country of the UK looks to finalize the Online Safety Bill.
Not that most people realize it, but OnlyFans counts fitness instructors, chefs, musicians, podcasters, and more among its two million+ creators. Most accounts post material of an adult nature, of course, which makes the creators and the site a lot of money, yet the company wants to make this aspect less of a focus.
"Amazon sell books on sex and gardening. Nobody calls Amazon an adult bookstore, right?" Keily Blair, the UK company's strategy chief, told Bloomberg. "Our content creators provide content on anything from gardening to lady gardens, and for some reason, OnlyFans is 'an adult-content site.'"
Would you pay for this sort of content?
This renewed push toward a mainstream image and increased transparency comes as the UK's Online Safety Bill is set to resume its progress through parliament. The bill requires tech companies to protect their users from illegal content such as child-abuse images and "legal but harmful" content. Parts of it could only apply to services with a significant number of users under 18, which UK lawmakers fear could exempt OnlyFans.
"We are vocal supporters of the Online Safety Bill, and any suggestions that we have or would attempt to dodge its requirements are not supported by factual analysis, evidence or statements by OnlyFans," a spokesperson said.
Bloomberg notes that OnlyFans removed more than a million posts for violating its acceptable use policy since July 2021, has 1,000 workers dedicated to safety, and removes hundreds of accounts each month.
This isn't entirely new ground for OnlyFans. There was shock last year when the company said it would ban sexually-explicit material on the platform due to demands from financial and payment partners. The ban was suspended a few days later following creator and user outrage.
OnlyFans also has a mobile app called OFTV, which forgoes the usual explicit material in favor of non-pornographic content like cookery shows. Some presenters are scantily clad, but it's certainly no worse than Twitch.