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When only the fans announced his plan remove adult content in mid-August, only to “Suspend” the decision five days later, many online sex workers who use the site have once again been forced to consider the volatile nature of their industry.
Like closing the advertising site Backpage.com in 2018, the event highlighted how the centralized online platforms used by sex workers can be taken offline at any time, leaving thousands of workers without a critical source of income and forced to more dangerous work in the street. With fears of juvenile content, sex trafficking and non-consensual pornography leading to increased censorship of online spaces, sex workers worry what the future of sex work will hold for them if the platform option. online is deleted.
“OnlyFans’ recent ban on adult content scares us online sex workers that we have no job security” Temple of the Vixen, a sex worker from Aotearoa (New Zealand) who has worked in the industry since 2018, told Motherboard. “In an instant, your means of income can be taken away from you.”
Given the instability of platforms large and small for adult content, the conversation about how to move forward is gathering momentum among sex workers, including the creation of their own platforms. -forms.
“A lot of sex workers I know personally are building their own websites, making sure their content is available across multiple platforms, and focusing on securing their income in case one platform goes missing.” Lena, an adult content creator, told Motherboard. “It would be a fantastic and liberating feeling to have a place on the internet of my own, where I could organize an audience, create my own content, and not have to worry about it being deleted because of a Puritan belief. ”
While the idea of building a website sounds ideal, the practicalities are hard to navigate.
“The challenge is to find a site that will host adult content,” said Lena. “Many mainstream sites that don’t require complex coding knowledge to avoid pornography.”
Once a website has been created, the sex worker should make an effort to market her website. “Building a successful business takes marketing skills,” Lena said. “Fortunately, sex workers are marketing experts. We are adaptable, resilient, and find ways to continue to market ourselves and our products in innovative ways. But a website takes time and income to host. Someone just starting out may need to invest [time and money], which is a lot to ask for for someone who just wants to make a living and is already short of money.
“How to move forward is all we’re talking about right now,” says Temple. “I would love to create my own website, something quite similar to OnlyFans, a paid website where my services can be quickly accessed for a price that I set. I want a place where I can choose my rates, be my own manager.
However, Temple is concerned about the payment. “VISA and PayPal are not conducive to sex work,” Temple said. “If anything shows up on their radar indicating that the content is an exchange for sexual services, it will be blocked. They don’t want to be held responsible for this. We will have to find ways to get the money from the client to the worker. sex.
The platforms are also cracking down on adult content due to the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), a law passed in 2018 which made platforms responsible for hosting sex trafficking and created a chilling effect on all sexual discourse online. As with anything that creates a risk, this made banks and payment platforms more hesitant doing business with platforms that host adult content.
“While the alleged target of the law [FOSTA/SESTA] trafficked into the sex trade, it has been shown to be incredibly ineffective but is instead relied on regularly by tech companies when censoring and removing content shared by sex workers, or even just users sharing sex. sexual content, ”Mariah Grant, Director of Research and Advocacy at The urban justice center sex workers project, Motherboard said.
“If I made my own website, it might get deleted under FOSTA because of my content,” Temple said, noting that all of his work to build a website could be gone in a snap.
Despite the obstacles, many sex workers are accelerating plans to move away from centralized platforms and regain some degree of independence in the process.
“I hope to create my own website with an email newsletter in the next few months”, Kezia slater, who has been a sex worker for more than eight years, told Motherboard. “This is the way to have the most stability, but it only really works if you already have traffic to attract people. I hope to create more SFW (Safe For Work) content on Twitch, TikTok or YouTube to appeal to more people and get more traffic I really believe that part of the future of sex work is having an SFW platform or network that you can always fall back on.
“For me, it’s all about diversification”, Awesome ally, a sex worker who had worked in the industry for nine years, Motherboard said. “If PornHub and OnlyFans have taught us anything, it’s that our platforms are under attack and we have to be nimble to survive.”
“I make my own website so fans can find me and I don’t have to worry about losing my account,” says Allie. “But I’m not looking forward to dealing with payment processors. I looked and it is not cheap. Because the adult industry is considered high risk, payment processing is much more expensive. That being said, it’s clear that I need my own website and will be working with a developer – possibly ElevatedX or VXPages – to build my website and set me up with a payment processor. I will also create a mailing list so that I can stay in touch with fans if I lose access to a platform. And I want to make my social media content more SFW. She suspects that performers will increasingly accept cryptocurrency for payment out of necessity, as Visa and MasterCard have such a hold on the industry. “I’m a big fan and have accepted it for years. “
Even though there is a general distrust of large platforms, a majority of sex workers still choose to use them with caution. Some workers have chosen to join OnlyFans’ competitors like Fansly and ePlay as alternatives, citing better payment options and subscription features. But whatever the platform, they are all a means to the same end.
“We’re going to find ways to survive,” Allie said.