The founder of the online platform OnlyFans – on which users can post video or photo content for a fee, based on donations or subscriptions – explained the decision to ban pornographic content on the social network. Tim Stokely told the Financial Times that he was pressured by banks to behave “unfairly”.
“The policy change, I had no choice – the short answer is about banks,” Tim Stokely, who is also the company’s chief executive, told the Financial Times.
OnlyFans is a subscription-based video and photo site known especially for pornography. In addition, there are fitness and music experts who publish content. The company announced that from October 1 it will block videos and photos with explicit pornographic content.
Users will be able to post nudity content on the site, but will have to comply with the OnlyFans policy, according to the BBC.
The company charges 20% of payments made through the site, which has 130 million users.
A BBC investigation has shown that minors used fake IDs to create accounts on the site. In June, the BBC reported that minors had sold explicit videos on the site, despite the fact that it was illegal for people to post indecent images of children.
Following the BBC investigation, England’s children’s commissioner said OnlyFans needs to do more to block minor users. In response to the investigation, OnlyFans said it closed its marked accounts and returned all active subscriptions.
In July, the company said it had deactivated 15 accounts after finding indecent images of children.
Following the announcement of the ban, the British company was accused of abandoning its mature content performers who helped attract nearly 130 million users. There is also skepticism about the continued success under the new rules banning sexual content, although it will allow nudity.
Stokely says the change came in response to high levels of hurdles from banks, which would “refer to risks to our business’s reputation and denial.”
“We pay over one million creators with over $ 300 million every month and ensuring that these funds go to creators involves using the banking sector,” he said. At the same time, the director specified that the New York Mellons bank “signaled and rejected” all the company’s transfers, “being difficult to pay our creators”.
The role of the bank in this case was to act as an intermediary, helping transfers between the bank used by OnlyFans and the creators’ accounts.
Stokely said that Metro Bank in the United Kingdom also closed in 2019, without announcing in advance, the company’s corporate account and pointed out how many sex workers, including creators of OnlyFans, were struggling to access their basic financial services.
“JPMorgan Chase is especially aggressive when it comes to closing sex workers’ accounts or … any other business that supports sex workers,” he said.
Stokely claims that OnlyFans was unfairly targeted by the media due to “incidents with illegal content”. He says the press does not mention how social networks without pornography handle similar problems. “Banks read the same press as everyone else,” he said.