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OnlyFans stops supporting Russian accounts amid payment problems

Andrew Griffin
Friday 22 April 2022 18:17 BST
Technical issues rather than a policy change seem to be driving OnlyFans’ suspension of service in Russia
Technical issues rather than a policy change seem to be driving OnlyFans’ suspension of service in Russia (Alamy)

OnlyFans has temporarily stopped services for Russian accounts, it has said.

The subscription platform – best known for allowing users to pay for access to adult and sexual content, though used by other creators too – said that it was having problems processing payments on behalf of those accounts.

Until now, UK-based OnlyFans has been one of only a few notable Western tech companies that have continued operating in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

And the latest restrictions appear to be driven by technical issues rather than a policy decision to leave the country.

“OnlyFans is a creator first business,” the company said in a statement to Motherboard, which first reported the news. “Over the past few months we have explored several options to continue providing our services to creators impacted by the Russia / Ukraine war.

“However, due to a further tightening of payment restrictions to and from Russia, OnlyFans can no longer properly serve our Russian creator community. As a result, we are taking steps to temporarily pause accounts where payments are received in Russia.”

Many western technology companies pulled out of Russia in response to pressure from users and even the Ukrainian government. That has meant that its online creators are unable to make money from popular platforms such as Instagram or YouTube.

Many western payment operators, such as American Express and Mastercard, have stopped operations in Russia in the wake of the war, and Russia has been partly banned from the SWIFT framework that underpins many financial transactions. That has made even sending payments to people within the country difficult.

OnlyFans’ policy decisions have been driven by payment providers in the past. Last summer, it announced that it would be banning adult content – seemingly in response to pressure from payment companies – before reversing the decision soon after.

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