‘The last frontier’: Sex worker survey highlights creator reliance on Twitter

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Sex work survey

Adult online content creators’ reliance on Twitter for finding new fans has been highlighted in an online sex worker survey, at a time when the platform’s owner Elon Musk’s company changes are creating uncertainty about its future.

Sex Work CEO, an organization founded by popular online porn creator This link opens in a new tab.MelRose Michaels, surveyed “over 200” online sex workers about how they earn a living. Although the sample size isn’t huge, it provides an interesting snapshot of creators’ use of Twitter, the only major social media platform that currently allows porn and explicit adult content.

The survey found that 97.3 percent of those questioned used Twitter to find new fans. Interestingly, 73.2 percent said they used Instagram for the same purpose, despite the photo-sharing app not allowing nudity and having pretty stringent policies regarding sexual content.

41.5 percent of respondents said they used TikTok to find new fans. The video-sharing app’s sexual content policies are arguably more conservative than Instagram’s, with discussions involving words such as “orgasm” and “clitoris” usually not allowed on the platform. Porn and nude images are also banned on TikTok.

In November 2022, Musk said that Twitter would allow monetization for “all forms of content”, leading to hopes that online porn creators were set to have a new mainstream revenue stream. Currently porn creators tend to use Twitter to preview clips or images and link to external revenue-generating sites such as OnlyFans.

As well as hope about potentially making money directly from Twitter through paywalled porn content, there has been concern about Twitter’s popularity going forward. Many people have declared that they would leave Twitter in protest of Musk’s changes, such as reinstating controversial public figures to the platform.

“Twitter is a main home, hub for us in terms of finding fans because it’s the only place where we really can access a new audience. Twitter is the last frontier for adult creators to link to an adult platform directly, have a one-click conversion and have a sale made. And without this tool at our disposal, we’re really at a huge disadvantage,” Michaels told Marketplace.

The Sex Work CEO survey found that 72.1 percent of responders used OnlyFans to sell content, making it the most popular platform on which to do so. The second most popular site to sell content on was ManyVids, which 56.3 percent of responders said they used.

Michaels spoke of her frustration at mainstream social media sites beyond Twitter, which tend to ban sexual content and therefore limit porn creators’ ability to promote on them. These measures tend to be in place to keep illegal content from the site and to prevent minors accessing porn and other unsuitable material.

“At the end of the day, anyone with access to the internet can still go to an adult platform,” she said. “But if they don’t have a credit card, they’re not going to have access. So as long as we are targeting an 18-plus audience, I don’t understand why we can’t navigate and utilize platforms in the same way any other user would navigate and use these platforms.”

The survey found that 79.6 percent of the sex workers surveyed earned money through fan sites, just over half (50.7 percent) earned money through camming, and 64.9 percent sell clips to earn cash.

Read next: Twitter scrapped OnlyFans-style porn subscription function over child exploitation fears

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Jamie F

Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice.

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