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OnlyFans Switches Its Stance On Sexually Explicit Content

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This next story may not be suitable for all listeners. The subscription site OnlyFans abruptly announced last week that it would ban sexually explicit posts, only to backtrack on that decision today. The episode has caused confusion because OnlyFans boasts 130 million users in large part because of pornography and other adult material. NPR's tech correspondent Shannon Bond tells us more.

SHANNON BOND, BYLINE: OnlyFans lets people post exclusive photos and videos for subscribers, and a lot of those posts are nudes, fetish images and full-fledged pornography. So it came as a shock to many last week when the company said it was banning explicit content starting in October. OnlyFans blamed the changes on banks. It said they were making it difficult for the company to pay creators. Those payments are key to its subscription business. But the ban felt like a betrayal to many adult performers who feel they've made OnlyFans successful.

MEREDITH JACQUELINE: They'd rather just kick the people who built their platform to the curb.

BOND: Meredith Jacqueline, who goes by her first and middle name professionally, is a social media influencer whose main source of income is OnlyFans. Now, after days of outcry from creators, some of whom say they've already lost subscribers, OnlyFans has scrapped the ban. In a statement, it says it has, quote, "secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community," meaning it will keep hosting adult content. But the whole saga has left many performers wary. Jacqueline says she's relieved by the reversal but not sure she trusts the company, and other creators agree.

ALANA EVANS: If we learned anything from this, it's that at a moment's notice, all of our income can be gone.

BOND: Alana Evans - that's her stage name - is a longtime porn actress and president of the labor union that represents sex workers and adult entertainers. She says she stopped posting new content on OnlyFans while she decides what to do next.

EVANS: There is no reason to be loyal to any of these platforms unless you have a written deal because they're not loyal to us.

BOND: In its statement, OnlyFans says it stands for inclusion and that it will, quote, "continue to provide a home for all creators."

Shannon Bond, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF KORESMA'S "NEW FRONTIER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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