OnlyFans To Net $1.2 Billion This Year And $2.5 Billion In 2022 Off Sex Workers’ Hard Labor
At the height of the pandemic, Jessica, a 33-year-old single mother living in the suburbs of Chicago, felt like she was drowning. OnlyFans To Net $1.2 Billion This Year And $2.5 Billion In 2022 Off Sex Workers’ Hard Labor
Her ex was paying reduced child support as a result of the crisis, which left her struggling to cover her rent for the two-bedroom apartment she shared with her three kids.
Her income as a loan processor wasn’t enough, and she knew that her situation wasn’t sustainable. So she decided to try selling nude videos of herself on OnlyFans, a subscription platform that had soared to fame in recent years as an online marketplace for homemade not safe for work(NSFW) content. It was a scary step to take, but with hard work, it paid off.
“It literally doubled my income,” said Jessica, who is identified only by her first name to protect her family’s privacy. “Now I’m able to provide for my children without begging for help.”
Even with OnlyFans claiming 20% of her earnings, as it does for all creators, Jessica was able to start paying off her debts and saving up for a better life. She set a goal to buy a house within two years — something that had previously felt entirely out of reach. But on Thursday afternoon, the future she’d started building for her family was suddenly thrown into jeopardy.
News broke that OnlyFans would be banning “sexually explicit conduct” in a matter of weeks. The announcement caused mass panic and uncertainty among sex workers who’d come to rely on the platform for a living — the very community whose labor helped it explode into a billion-dollar business. OnlyFans expects to net $1.2 billion this year and $2.5 billion in 2022, which would partially cash out majority owner Leo Radivinsky, Axios reports.
Many workers, like Jessica, had found a lifeline in OnlyFans at a time of desperation, only to have it abruptly ripped away as the company reportedly attempts to court sex-weary investors. (OnlyFans says the changes are required to “to comply with the requests of [its] banking partners and payout providers,” and declined to provide more detail.)
“I’m freaking out,” said Jessica, who now worries that she’ll have to pull her children out of day care and will no longer be able to save up for a house. “I’m terrified. I don’t know what I’m going to do moving forward, especially with such short notice.”
She and other sex workers feel betrayed and discarded by OnlyFans, which for years has been almost exclusively associated with explicit content. It was founded in 2016 by CEO Tim Stokely, a British entrepreneur known as the 38-year-old “king of homemade porn” who previously ran two other adult performance sites. Two years later, Radvinsky, owner of the camgirl site MyFreeCams, acquired 75% ownership of OnlyFans’ parent company, Fenix International Limited.
“Sex workers built this website. They’ve made a ton of money off us just to kick us off.Tori, a 28-year-old OnlyFans creator from Nashville”
Tori, a 28-year-old OnlyFans creator from Nashville
OnlyFans told HuffPost that it will allow creators to continue sharing “content containing nudity as long as it is consistent with our Acceptable Use Policy,” but declined to answer questions about what kinds of nude content would not be considered “sexually explicit” and therefore prohibited.
The company also claimed that it would “actively support and guide our creators through this change in content guidelines,” but declined to answer how, exactly, it would do that.
The Adult Performance Artists Guild, a union representing OnlyFans creators and other sex workers, issued a statement Thursday slamming OnlyFans’ forthcoming policy change and “the financial despair and destruction this will cause our community.”
“Most content creators on OnlyFans are comprised of adult performers who make their entire living off of the platform,” the Guild continued. “Workers in our industry have families to care for, and this change will push many into potential homelessness.”
Tori, a newly single mother of two living in Nashville, Tennessee, started selling adult content on OnlyFans last October to supplement her income as a financial analyst and get her through the holidays. She’d been living paycheck to paycheck, and the money helped her afford childcare when her kids’ school shut down due to COVID-19. In February, when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, she came to rely on OnlyFans to offset the cost of chemotherapy.
“I probably would have put myself in some severe debt refinancing and using credit cards” without OnlyFans, said Tori, 28, who is also identified by only her first name. “It has made a huge, huge difference.”
Tori awoke to multiple texts and Twitter DMs on Thursday alerting her to the news that “sexually explicit conduct” would no longer be allowed on OnlyFans as of Oct. 1. She was both stunned and angry.
“Sex workers built this website. They’ve made a ton of money off us just to kick us off,” she said. “I feel used. And I feel for the people who, unlike me, don’t have a full-time job — who solely rely on OnlyFans. This is a slap in the face.”
As she scrambles to plan her next move, Tori wonders what other sex work-friendly platforms she could turn to. There are few out there, like MyFans, but building up a subscriber base on OnlyFans took a lot of time and effort, and she worries that not all of her subscribers will migrate to a new website with her. Reaching new people requires promotion on mainstream social media platforms such as Twitter, which, Tori said, can be a deeply disheartening experience due to online critics who try to shame and humiliate sex workers.
“The sex work community is very, very resilient,” said Jane Lucier, a 23-year-old Canadian who earns six figures per month on OnlyFans. Her extraordinary success on the platform has enabled her to give back to her community by donating money to sex work advocacy groups, but she knows many others who use OnlyFans are far less fortunate.
“It was already a very tough year for sex workers,” said Lucier, who is identified by her screen name. “Now they’re more vulnerable because OnlyFans was a safe place for them.”
Sex workers, a highly marginalized community with no U.S. labor protections, are used to being deplatformed and starting over from scratch.
Companies such as Tumblr and Patreon have also cracked down on NSFW content, and most mainstream social networks have strict rules against nudity. To many sex workers, OnlyFans was a haven that made it possible to do their jobs safely and securely from the comfort of their homes.
“I’m terrified. I don’t know what I’m going to do moving forward.Jessica, a 33-year-old OnlyFans creator from Chicago“
Jessica, a 33-year-old OnlyFans creator from Chicago
For Jordan Bundy, a 29-year-old OnlyFans creator in San Jose, the platform is her only source of income. She lost her job as a sales representative at a skincare brand over the pandemic. OnlyFans kept her afloat and even helped her develop a financial safety net.
“I was finally ahead of rent and not behind it,” she said. “I felt like I could breathe for once in my life.”
But her experience using OnlyFans has been frustrating, too. People have stolen nude content from her page and reposted it to Reddit and even a separate OnlyFans account that was impersonating her, Bundy said. To her dismay, she added, OnlyFans did little to help when she reported the abuse. She’s not surprised that the company is now turning its back on its primary user base.
“Everybody associates OnlyFans with sex work,” she said. “They used the sex work community to grow to where they are now.”
Meanwhile, as OnlyFans attempts to rebrand into a puritanical version of itself to attract outside funding, Jessica from Chicago is stressing about how she’s going to pay her bills once her savings run out.
“We all know what OnlyFans is for,” she said. “They should be proud of the fact that they’re basically a fucking porn site and that they allow all of these people to take control of their lives and financial futures, and try to find a way to make this work for us.”
OnlyFans’ Porn Ban Is ‘Catalyst’ For Sex Workers To Move To Cryptocurrency
OnlyFans, the pay-per-view service once credited with revolutionizing the porn industry, is now set to ban “sexually explicit content.”
In a statement on August 19 the company revealed the move was in order “to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers.”
While this news has caused outrage among the sex workers who built the site’s success, it is a big opportunity for the crypto industry to capitalize by offering platforms that are not held to ransom by financial institutions.
OnlyFans has been facing increasing scrutiny from payment providers, including Mastercard who have imposed tight restrictions on sellers of adult content. This was lobbied for by conservative anti-pornography groups under the guise of abolishing sex trafficking and exploitation.
Crypto analyst Christina Rud tells Newsweek: “What’s essentially happening here is that you have payment providers deciding what’s right or wrong which is really scary, and definitely not the kind of society that would champion democratic values.”
Rud explains that using blockchain-enabled technology is the way forward for the porn industry because content cannot be censored, and “once data is on the blockchain it is there forever.”
The technology also has “no central entity controlling it.” Therefore crypto-led pornography platforms would be immune to the moralizing whims of boardroom politics.
The porn industry has already begun embracing the blockchain. Pornhub first announced it would be accepting cryptocurrency payments in 2018.
Then, after it was axed by Visa and Mastercard in 2020, the platform moved to only accepting cryptocurrency for its premium service.
There has also been a slow rise in crypto-only platforms, but with OnlyFans—which grew in the pandemic to over 130 million users—soon out of the way, there will be a huge void for them to fill.
Using cryptocurrency is not only beneficial for companies but also for the creators themselves. Newsweek recently investigated the rife issue of chargebacks on OnlyFans, which means sex workers were often having to reimburse money to scammers who have viewed their explicit content.
With cryptocurrency, this could not happen because every transaction is transparent and there is no mechanism for chargebacks.
Porn star Lacey London joined OnlyFans back in 2017 but has now moved all her content over to Nafty Fans, a newly launched crypto-led platform. They also have their own cryptocurrency, a Nafty coin.
Speaking of the incoming OnlyFans ban she tells Newsweek: “I think that this happens to sex workers so much—we put so much effort in and we build a lot of these companies up, and then when they’re ready to ditch us, we have nothing left of it and we can’t even prove it…. that we actually helped this company become what it is.”
However, she believes blockchain-led Nafty Fans is the solution: “Now we’re able to not only invest in a company, which has a real coin. You can have coins, so you literally can physically own a part of your company, and then you’re building content on top of that platform. We needed this.”
“We [sex workers] are moving, we’re no longer saying, ‘okay, we’ll take whatever you guys are giving us.’ Now we’re saying we’re going to move to where they want us and they want to put our content out and they want to collaborate with us.”
Jeff Dillon, chief business development officer at Nafty, has been in the adult industry for over 20 years. He explains to Newsweek that “these credit card companies have been increasingly difficult to deal with.”
“At first”, he says “they were just happy to have our business but every single year there’s always another issue. They’re putting new rules in place—content that we filmed five years ago now might be more restricted and we can’t sell it today.”
Nafty Fans’ platform launched just days before news of the OnlyFans’ ban broke, which he believes will be the “catalyst” for getting users to “mass adopt crypto, because we’re really seeing the flaws from a consumer side to the content creator side to a platform side.
“It’s difficult trying to deal with these credit card companies just us as a business you’re beholding to these crazy fees such as 15 percent per transaction that we have to pay for them to set up an account.”
Nafty Fans take a 10 percent fee from creators, as opposed to OnlyFans’ 20, and if third-party sites use Nafty coin the fee is just 4 percent.
Dillon says there has been a rapid sign-up rate in the last few days as creators clamber to find a new space for their content.
He explains the porn industry is “extremely resilient” and this recent barrier for sex workers is nothing new.
“We’ll adapt and overcome the situation just like we have many times in the past and the beautiful thing about sex is sex sells, and people will always find a way to transact and get their content.”
OnlyFans Has Tons of Users, But Can’t Find Investors
OnlyFans, the online creator platform known for its adult content, is struggling to find outside investors, according to multiple sources.
Between The Lines: Sex sells, based on company financials leaked to Axios, but it also scares off venture capitalists.
OnlyFans Remains In Market, seeking what a source close to the company refers to as a “strategic partner.”
The Raine Group, a merchant bank focused on tech and telecom, this past spring began helping OnlyFans to solicit investors.
Several deep-pocketed firms quickly passed, not even engaging in serious due diligence.
The money it’s hoping to raise would partially cash out majority owner and porn mogul Leo Radivinsky, while providing management with what one venture capitalist calls “more legitimacy.”
OnlyFans declined to comment for this story.
By The Numbers: Any other company with growth like OnlyFans would be able to raise big money in a matter of minutes.
What follows is rounded data from a pitch-deck that was compiled at the end of March. The 2021 figures are based on run-rate through the end of Q1, while 2022 figures are OnlyFans projections:
Gross Merchandise Value (GMV):
2020: $2.2 billion
2021: $5.9 billion
2022: $12.5 billion
2020: $375 million
2021: $1.2 billion
2022: $2.5 billion
Over 50% of OnlyFans revenue in March came from paid subscriptions, while more than 30% came via chats. The rest was a combination of tips/streams and paid posts for free accounts.
Free Cash Flow:
2020: $150 million
2021: $620 million
2022: $1.2 billion
Total Amount Paid To Creators Since Inception:$3.2 billion
More than 300 creators earn at least $1 million annually.
Around 16,000 creators earn at least $50,000 annually.
More than seven million “fans” spend on OnlyFans each month. It has even more users who only consume free content.
In Short, OnlyFans Has A Porn Problem, even though it never once mentions porn in its pitch-deck (something that multiple investors called “disingenuous.”).
Some VC funds are prohibited from investing in adult content, per limited partnership agreements.
Several investors are concerned about minors creating subscription accounts, although the company says it has controls in place to prevent that.
Some investors say they could get past the porn, but worry that the company’s reputation would prevent it from attracting brand partners (despite this week announcing a “safe for work” product that features its growing number of clothed creators).
A counterargument is that Snap is now plastered with advertising, and valued at $115 billion, even though it began as a way for teens to share nudes.
The Bottom Line: OnlyFans is one of the creator economy’s largest and most successful platforms. And investors are content to watch its success from afar.
Payment Processor Censorship Doesn’t Apply To Social Media Giants
Facebook Responsible For 94% Of 69 Million Child Sex Abuse Images Reported By US Tech Firms
The figures emerge as the UK is among seven nations warning of the impact of end-to-end encryption on public safety online.
Facebook was responsible for 94% of the 69 million child sex abuse images reported by US technology companies last year.
The figures emerged as seven countries, including the UK, published a statement on Sunday warning of the impact of end-to-end encryption on public safety online.
Facebook has previously announced plans to fully encrypt communications in its Messenger app, as well as its Instagram Direct service – on top of WhatsApp, which is already encrypted – meaning no one apart from the sender and recipient can read or modify messages.
The social media site said the changes are designed to improve user privacy on all of its platforms.
But law enforcement agencies fear the move will have a devastating impact on their ability to target paedophiles and protect children online.
Some 16.9 million referrals were made by US tech firms to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) last year, including 69 million images of children being abused – up 50% on the previous year.
Some 94% of the reports, which include the worst category of images, came from Facebook, Home Office officials said.
But the National Crime Agency (NCA) has warned the number could drop to zero if Facebook presses ahead with end-to-end encryption.
Robert Jones, the NCA director responsible for tackling child sexual abuse, said of the plan: “The lights go out, the door gets slammed, and we lose all of that insight. It is as simple as that.
“And nothing, you know we’re relying on the best technical expertise… in the UK, the same people that keep the UK safe against terrorists, hostile states, cyber attacks, are telling us there is no viable alternative. I believe them. And I am deeply concerned.”
The NCA believes there are at least 300,000 people in the UK who pose a sexual threat to children, with 86,832 UK-related referrals to NCMEC last year, including 52% from Facebook and 11% from Instagram.
Mr Jones said industry reporting led to the arrest of more than 4,500 offenders and the safeguarding of around 6,000 children in the UK in the year to June 2020.
He continued: “The end-to-end encryption model that’s being proposed takes out of the game one of the most successful ways for us to identify leads, and that layers on more complexity to our investigations, our digital media, our digital forensics, our profiling of individuals and our live intelligence leads, which allow us to identify victims and safeguard them.
“What we risk losing with these changes is the content, which gives us the intelligence leads to pursue those offenders and rescue those children.”
Home Office officials say Facebook has not published credible plans to protect child safety a year on from Home Secretary Priti Patel’s open letter to the firm’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg asking it to halt its end-to-end encryption proposals.
A statement signed by Ms Patel, along with the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India and Japan – whose populations represent around a fifth of Facebook’s two billion global users – is calling for tech companies to ensure they don’t blind themselves to criminality on their platforms.
Ms Patel said: “We owe it to all of our citizens, especially our children, to ensure their safety by continuing to unmask sexual predators and terrorists operating online.”
The statement calls for public safety to be embedded in systems, for law enforcement to be given access to content, and for engagement with governments.
It Reads:“Encryption is an existential anchor of trust in the digital world and we do not support counter-productive and dangerous approaches that would materially weaken or limit security systems.”
“Particular implementations of encryption technology, however, pose significant challenges to public safety, including to highly vulnerable members of our societies like sexually exploited children.”
A Facebook spokesman said: “We’ve long argued that end-to-end encryption is necessary to protect people’s most private information.
“In all of these countries, people prefer end-to-end encrypted messaging on various apps because it keeps their messages safe from hackers, criminals, and foreign interference.”
“Facebook has led the industry in developing new ways to prevent, detect, and respond to abuse while maintaining high security, and we will continue to do so.”
In 2014, Snapchat introduced a new feature called Snapcash which spurred its popularity among adult content creators.
Snapchat allows private premium accounts in which users can monetize their content. This feature is mostly used by models to monetize their adult content. Snapchat is increasingly becoming an integral part of the online porn industry.
In 2020, a woman in North Carolina sued Snapchat (as well as dating app Tinder and the five men named in the attack), claiming features of the app enabled her alleged rapist and his friends to hide evidence of the rape. In particular, the suit alleges that “because of the ways Snapchat is and has been designed, constructed, marketed, and maintained, [the woman’s assailants] were able to send these nonconsensual, pornographic photographs and videos of [her] with little to no threat of law enforcement verifying that they did so.” The woman told the court that parent company Snap Inc. “specifically and purposely designed, constructed, and maintained Snapchat to serve as a secretive and nefarious communications platform that encourages, solicits, and facilitates the creation and dissemination of illicit and non-consensual sexually explicit content…and allowed Snapchat to operate as a safe-haven from law enforcement.”
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