OnlyFans social media app is planning to block [email protected] explicit content on its platform starting in October, Bloomberg first reported Thursday, a seismic pivot for the photo- and video-sharing site amid reports it’s struggling to attract investors.
The U.K.-based content subscription service said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg it plans to start blocking users from posting any [email protected] explicit content, which was the foundation of its rapid growth.
Users will still be able to post nude photos and videos, provided they adhere to company policy, OnlyFans said.
The company described the policy change as a way to “ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform,” which has recently started shifting away from X-rated content and launched a free streaming service for non-sexual content this month.
OnlyFans said it will be “sharing more details in the coming days” and “will actively support and guide our creators through this change.”
“We remain dedicated to our community of 130 million users and over 2 million content creators that have earned over $5 billion on our platform,” the company said.
The move comes as OnlyFans is reportedly in talks to raise new funding at a valuation of more than $1 billion, targeting backers who will help the site evolve into a mainstream media company, according to Bloomberg.
OnlyFans was founded in 2016 by British entrepreneur Timothy Stokely, his retired banker father, Guy Stokely, and brother Thomas. The company benefited from a massive surge in interest during the Covid-19 pandemic, which made its secretive majority owner, Leonid Radvinsky, a billionaire, by Forbes’ estimates. Its net revenue of $375 million in 2020 is projected to grow to $1.2 billion in 2021 and then $2.5 billion in 2022, according to a pitch deck obtained by Axios. But despite its momentum, the company has struggled to attract investors, as Axios Dan Primack reported Thursday. “Any other company with growth like OnlyFans would be able to raise big money in a matter of minutes,” he wrote.
The content streaming service has also had trouble with child sexual abuse material, with numerous members of Congress appealing to Attorney General Merrick Garland earlier this month to investigate what they described as “a major marketplace for buying and selling Child Sexual Abuse Material … as well as soliciting sexual activity with minors” in the United States. OnlyFans responded to concerns about the sale of explicit content featuring minors by saying it takes its “obligations extremely seriously.” The company highlighted that its age verification systems exceed regulatory requirements but are ever-evolving to “help us to reduce incidences of under-18-year-olds becoming OnlyFans users.”