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Elon Musk is pushing ahead with an OnlyFans-esque vision for Twitter: A potential porn-friendly vertical behind a paywall

November 2, 2022, 3:56 PM UTC
Elon Musk is reportedly planning to offer paid video on Twitter, much like OnlyFans.
Dimitrios Kambouris—Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Twitter is reportedly planning to roll out a new paywalled video feature, allowing creators to charge people to view the content, a move that could put it in direct competition with sites like OnlyFans.

The feature, reports the Washington Post, could go live within two weeks, though the team has identified it as a high-risk operation, given the potential for people to attempt to sell copyrighted material and other possible legal hurdles.

Twitter did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

The financial appeal is hard to miss, though. Subscribers to OnlyFans spent $4.8 billion on the site last year, just shy of Twitter’s annual revenue for the year. While 80% of that spending went to the creators on the site, that still resulted in nearly $1 billion in income for OnlyFans. Pre-tax profits at the company rose by 615% to $432 million in the 12 months ending September 2021.

OnlyFans creators set their own prices, but Twitter is reportedly planning to preset what they can charge to $1, $2, $5 or $10.

OnlyFans, of course, is largely associated with adult performers and the adult entertainment industry. For many sex workers, it has become the primary source of income as the era of big feature films in that industry has died up.

OnlyFans has no exclusive holdings on the content its creators offer. While some prefer to use it exclusively for convenience’s sake, others will use it as a home for new videos, then (after a few months) will begin to offer older content on other platforms as well.

Twitter has, for some time, been the preeminent online adult content platform, say industry insiders, as it allows nudity and pornography, and has avoided the legal problems of others and has a large user base. While performers can’t monetize their posts directly, they regularly post photos and videos steering fans to platforms like OnlyFans. So many could be eager to charge for content on the site.

One question is how Twitter users would react. The site has offered video content (both adult and other kinds) for free since its inception, so fans could balk at having to pay for it.  

The chatter about a video paywall comes at the same time Musk has said he plans to charge $8 per month for the verification check. Many users have said they would refuse to pay for the mark, which was designed to prevent bad actors from impersonating people and add a layer of trust to the platform.

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