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Only ‘secret’ fans are trying to open up in the transition to mainstream

Executives of OnlyFans Ltd. have mapped out a plan to become more transparent and emphasize less explicit content.

Executives of OnlyFans Ltd. have laid out a plan to become more transparent and emphasize less explicit content at a time when the company’s home country is finalizing strict new online safety laws.

“Amazon sells books about sex and gardening. Nobody calls Amazon an adult bookstore, right?” said Keily Blair, the strategy chief for the London-based company. “Our content creators provide content on everything from gardening to lady gardens, and for some reason OnlyFans is ‘an adult content site’.”

The online platform is trying to distance itself from its “secret” past, Blair said in an interview, and is working to increase communication with journalists, banking partners, regulators and “anyone who wants to come and talk to us”. especially those who are critical.

Among those who have focused on OnlyFans are UK lawmakers, who have expressed concern that the platform could escape scrutiny if parts of the new Online Safety Bill – expected to come into effect next year – only apply to services. where there is such a significant number of child users mentioned.

OnlyFans has met with UK MPs about the bill and supports the incoming legislation, Blair said.

“We are vocal supporters of the Online Safety Bill and any suggestions we have or would attempt to evade the requirements are not supported by factual analysis, evidence or statements from OnlyFans,” a spokesperson said.

According to OnlyFans’ own transparency reports, published on its website, the company has deleted more than a million posts since July 2021 for violating their acceptable use policy, and hundreds of accounts are being deleted each month.

It added 230 new cases of child sexual abuse to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s database during the same period. In comparison, the much larger platform Meta Platforms Inc. said it treated more than 20 million cases of such material in the second quarter of this year.

More than 1,000 employees are committed to safety and OnlyFans hires between 40 and 50 people per month. Many of them are responsible for moderating the 20 million monthly posts of the more than 2 million creators. Each post is reviewed within 24 hours of posting, after it has been reviewed by image and word recognition systems, which prioritize higher-risk material, according to OnlyFans.

Read more:​​OnlyFans drops plan to ban porn content amid creator uproar

During a Tuesday visit, the offices were virtually empty. But the company said its teams are working remotely and the moderators are contractors. OnlyFans does not have a career page on its website, and only two job openings are advertised on LinkedIn.

Founded in 2016, OnlyFans is located in a small office in London’s Soho district – once home to the city’s red light district, but now home to media and fashion companies. The platform became wildly profitable during the Covid-19 pandemic, posting pre-tax profits of $433 million in the year ended November 30, seven times more than it earned in the previous year.

US-based investor Leonid Radvinsky, who acquired a majority stake in the company in 2018, has earned more than $500 million in dividends from the platform as of late 2020, the company said in its financial statements last month.

OnlyFans subscribers pay content creators monthly fees and tips to access exclusive photos, videos, and conversations, and the company charges a 20% fee. It has tried to expand its offerings beyond the adult content it is known for, spotlighting pages of chefs, musicians, celebrities and fitness trainers and launching a mainstream streaming site similar to YouTube.

Read more: OnlyFans owner to receive more than $500 million in dividend in two years

“If you had an OnlyFans account, and you wanted to share cooking content on Mondays and more spicy content on Tuesdays, how would we classify you? Are you a cook?” Blair said in a conference room that doubled as the corporate headquarters, filled with merchandise emblazoned with the blue-and-white OnlyFans logo, including t-shirts, hats and electric desk fans.

Blair declined to comment on how much of the content hosted by the company is explicit.

A search for “gardening” on OnlyFans’ free and safe-for-work streaming service OFTV yields a video of a woman offering tips on planting pumpkins. The avatar for the creator’s OnlyFans account is more suggestive, wearing a small, purple bikini. A search for creators who create “cooking” content on the site turns up similar scantily clad results.

In August of last year, OnlyFans said it would ban sexually explicit material, sparking an outcry from creators and sex workers who had come to rely on the platform as a source of income. It soon reversed its plans, blaming requests from “banking partners and payout providers” in its initial announcement.

“Dear sex workers,” OnlyFans said in a tweet at the time, “Without you, the OnlyFans community wouldn’t be what it is today.”

The public response convinced financial institutions to partner with the company, Chief Financial Officer Lee Taylor said in the interview. He said OnlyFans now has an “extensive” financial network across a range of payment processors, though he declined to name the payment companies that partner with the company.

“The main focus for us is trying to challenge the misconceptions about us as a reputation risk,” Taylor said. The company also plans to add more open banking partnerships, which Blair says will strengthen its identity verification and anti-money laundering controls.

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