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Twitter’s attempt to compete with OnlyFans was halted due to child safety warnings

·2-min read
Twitter’s attempt to compete with OnlyFans was halted due to child safety warnings

Twitter’s attempt to monetise adult content on the platform and emerge as a competitor to OnlyFans was halted as the company could not address child sex abuse concerns, a new report has revealed.

In April, Twitter – currently in an ongoing legal battle with Tesla chief Elon Musk – was considering allowing adult content creators on the microblogging platform to sell paid subscriptions similar to OnlyFans, The Verge reported.

Over the last few years, Twitter has tested and rolled out exclusive features for its creators such as “ticketed spaces” that let users charge listeners for its Clubhouse-like audio product, as well as the “Super Follows” feature for users to offer special, non-sexual content subscription for followers.

When “Super Follows” was announced, it was compared to other direct payment tools used on platforms like Patreon, newsletters on services like Substack, as well as how one bought content via OnlyFans.

“Exploring audience funding opportunities like Super Follows will allow creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience and will incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience loves,” Twitter had told The Independent.

Now, an investigation by The Verge, based on leaked documents and interviews with employees, revealed that Twitter had assembled an 84-person “Red Team” in April to “pressure-test the decision to allow adult creators to monetize on the platform, by specifically focusing on what it would look like for Twitter to do this safely and responsibly”.

The team involved in the new project, called ACM: Adult Content Monetization, reportedly found several opportunities.

While it is unclear what fraction of the money users made was planned to be taken by Twitter as a cut, it was clear there was plenty of revenue to be made through ACM.

The net revenue of OnlyFans in 2021, for instance, was $1.2bn and the company expects to grow to $2.5bn in 2022.

However, Twitter’s Red Team flagged several risks, especially in the ability of the platform’s systems to detect child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity.

“Twitter cannot accurately detect child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity at scale,” the Red Team reportedly concluded.

The social media giant allegedly lacked the tools to verify if creators and consumers of adult content on its platform were of legal age.

“It was the ongoing and reflective dialogue on the topic that brought us to the decision to pause the workstream for the right reason and prioritize elsewhere,” Twitter told The Independent.

“Twitter has zero-tolerance for child sexual exploitation. We aggressively fight online child sexual abuse and invest in technology and tools to enforce our policy. Our dedicated teams work to stay ahead of bad-faith actors and to help ensure we’re protecting minors from harm — both on and offline,” the company added.