Actress Bella Thorne was involved in a dispute over the sale of $ 200 (£ 149.70) nude photos on OnlyFans which were not as described.
Its actions on the subscription content platform have led OnlyFans to place a cap on the prices creators can charge.
The former Disney actress has apologized to the content creators, who say their earnings will suffer.
However, OnlyFans told the BBC that the price changes had been “in the works for a while”.
OnlyFans has become popular as a platform where content creators can post inspiring and intimate premium photos, videos, and text messages. OnlyFans takes a 20% commission on each transaction.
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The platform has 60 million users and 750,000 content creators globally, according to the most recent data.
While some content creators are sex workers, many others are models, dancers, singers, musicians, and comedians who don’t produce any content with nudity.
Over the weekend, OnlyFans saw backlash from its content creators after changing the limit on each tip and paid post from $ 200 to $ 100 per article. Previously, content creators could charge any amount they wanted.
“There are spending limits to protect all OnlyFans users and to allow them to use the platform safely,” said a spokesperson for OnlyFans. “The newly introduced limits on suggestions and paid posts are a change that has been in the works for a while and hasn’t been implemented in response to any creators or fans.”
The platform added that it has made changes to its policies “taking into account the safety and support” of its users and content creators.
“He has no right to speak for us”
Ms. Thorne, 22, broke records on OnlyFans when she signed up for an account last week, earning over 50,000 followers and earning $ 2 million in a week by charging $ 200 for alleged nude photos.
But she wasn’t naked in the photos and thousands of her subscribers asked for refunds from the platform.
Ms. Thorne apologized to the content creators on Saturday, August 29, stating in a series of tweets that she wanted to “remove the stigma behind sex work.”
He also told the Los Angeles Times that he was looking for a new role for a film made by director Sean Baker, but denied get involved in projects with the actress.
Ms. Thorne further angered the content creators by saying she would be meeting with OnlyFans to discuss pricing limits on their behalf, when many say their requests for clarification on the matter have been ignored by the platform.
“Bella Thorne has no right to speak for us and could never know the daily challenges we face every day,” Stephanie Michelle, a professional cosplayer based in Los Angeles, told the BBC.
Ms. Michelle has 550 fans and makes $ 8,000 a month, charging users a $ 30 subscription fee. She also relies on tips ranging from $ 5- $ 200 for pay-per-view photos, videos, and text messages. .
He says his work on OnlyFans is the only way he can support his family due to the pandemic and fears that many more content creators will struggle to make ends meet in the future.
Kelly Jean, a London-based professional cosplayer and Twitch streamer, has 4,600 followers on OnlyFans.
She is on many social media platforms and uses OnlyFans as part of maintaining her following, offering $ 10 sets of sexy model photos as digital merchandise to her fans.
“It will make people more suspicious of my content, but we can hope that Bella Thorne will bring more people to the platform and normalize it for others who don’t make naked content like me,” she said.
OnlyFans says a record number of people have applied to become content creators on the platform in the past week after Ms. Thorne joined it.
‘OnlyFans is robbing me’
Irina is a cosplayer and model living in Belarus, with 35,700 followers on OnlyFans. Due to the pandemic, he depends on the platform for 90% of his income.
Asks up to $ 40 for lingerie photos and videos or for content involving nudity; $ 165 for topless photos and $ 200 for nude pictures and videos.
“I feel like OnlyFans is screwing me,” he said. “I will lose about $ 2,000 a month from my income because I can’t accept custom requests now as they are priced higher than normal. With a maximum tip of $ 100 it’s hard to explain to people why they have to tip multiple times.”
Erika Heidewald, a Los Angeles-based actress and musician, has only 317 followers.
Explain that there are many different business models on OnlyFans because people have very different demands and the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity.
She might sell a picture of a swimsuit for $ 20, or a picture of her shoes for $ 100, or someone might pay her $ 200 “to text and humiliate them for 20 minutes.”
“Many of the big creators have lower prices because they have so many subscribers to buy those items, but most of the small creators rely on a limited number of loyal subscribers. They may only sell a couple of videos a month, but they’re worth enough that. it’s a life-saving amount of money, “he told the BBC.
“Lowering the price cap limits our money and reduces the value of individually produced content.”
Another point of contention is the fact that OnlyFans previously promised creators that if they introduced new influencers, they would be eligible to receive 5% of their revenue for the foreseeable future.
“I feel a little used by OnlyFans,” said Kaya Corbridge, 23, a Lancashire prostitute who has made $ 1.1 million on the platform over the past three years and now owns her home.
Ms. Corbridge offers services ranging from $ 7- $ 25 “custom penis evaluations” and text chats charged between $ 3- $ 300, to custom videos that cost $ 50 per minute, and even a $ 1,000 package where a user can check what he does for one day. He has 1.2 million followers on Only Fans.
“When I started, I enrolled over 500 content creators and trained them, offered them support, promotion, and even a guide I created about the promise and contract that I would get 5% of their lifetime earnings,” he says. “Many of us have spent years coaching our future competition.”
Ms. Corbridge estimates that she will lose $ 12,000 per month due to the change in the referral fee policy. She and Irina are now considering moving to other platforms.
According to digital content marketer Simon Penson, many technology platforms have built their success by attracting influencers with profitable monetization offers and then “moving the bar” afterwards.
“Facebook did and we’ve always seen it with influencers on YouTube, too,” said Penson, who founded Zazzle Media, one of the pioneers of the digital content marketing industry in 2009.
“The older kids had enough reach to negotiate with social media platforms for bespoke deals.
“But the small and mid-sized influencers who were obviously making a lot of money were the ones who didn’t have a seat at the negotiating table and were the ones who were really hurt by the YouTube changes.”
Content creators can’t yet turn their backs on online platforms as they need to reach audiences, but Mr. Penson says things are changing.
“We are starting to see an era where influencers, instead of relying on social media platforms for monetization, will shift to technology platforms like Patreon, OnlyFans and VuePay, which deliver the technology rather than the audience.
“Influencers have more power than they had before: they can use their influence to push their fans to the places they want to be.”