It’ll come as no surprise at all to hear that Twitter and Snapchat are awash with adult content – and while that’s no bad thing, there’s a slow motion cat-and-mouse game taking place that few people realize is taking place.
On one side, you have adult performers – both ‘amateur’ and recognized industry professionals – trying to make a living in increasingly hostile times for anyone working in an ‘adult’ industry. And on the other, you have Twitter, Snapchat and other mainstream social networks (largely) trying to keep explicit content off their platforms. Fuelling the flames, sometimes, you’ll find trolls.
The extent to which each goes to achieve this varies, but the general stance – even in the best-case scenario – is ‘you can stay, but you can’t be visible’. While Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and even Reddit, are making changes to make life harder for adult content creators, Twitter takes a more tolerant approach.
“Anyone posting sensitive content is forced to label their content as such and is omitted from search and other commons spaces of the service. We’ve also implemented Safe Search as Twitter’s default setting so account holders are not exposed to accounts and content marked as sensitive in their experience,” a spokesperson for Twitter told SEXTECHGUIDE. “Account holders are prohibited from using graphic content in live video, their profile, or header images.”
It’s a similar story over at Snapchat too: distribution and promotion of pornographic content are all against the Terms of Service, and can result in the deletion of accounts (and, obviously, the removal of content).
And that’s just the rules for having an account and sharing explicit content. Snapchat disallows the the buying, selling, renting or leasing of an account, and doesn’t allow users to have more than one.
For Twitter’s part, a spokesperson confirmed that the company “strictly prohibits the purchasing and selling of account interactions on our platform.”
None of this, perhaps, is too surprising – but it hasn’t stopped many, many performers and businesses using the platform in exactly this way; either by promoting and selling access to their feeds via cam sites they frequent, via the social platforms themselves, or via dedicated third-parties like Erotifix.
This latter option is one of the few to allow performers to offer time-limited subscriptions to social channels. Each user (performer), decides what they want to offer – so they don’t all offer paid access to social channels.
Of the ones that do, however, you could find yourself being charged up to $100 for a Twitter follow-back, or $150 to be unblocked. Other users offer (usually ‘lifetime’) access to Snapchat via tokens or tips (on sites like Chaturbate, for example), or in the case of Erotifix for the direct cold, hard cash equivalent.
Given that generating money from these platforms in this way is directly against the Terms of Service, there’s obviously the risk that the account can be closed down at any time.
At this point, the performer simply makes a new account and re-adds all the same people that have already paid for access to carry on.
In a recent announcement, Erotifix founder Terry Yannick said that:
“We believe that models should have as much power to own their brand and content as possible, without sacrificing their revenue. We offer models the ability to sell a variety of things with one of the highest model revenue splits out there, and now we’ve added Premium Snapchat Subscriptions. Plus, we’re 100% adult-friendly.”
Erotifix hadn’t responded to multiple requests for comment at the time of writing.
Isn’t the answer dedicated adult content social networks?
Yes, and no. There are already some dedicated – and well-known – social networks that allow pornographic images alongside a community of users, and others that exist for that reason almost exclusively. Fetlife is a good example of this, with nearly eight million members, but it doesn’t provide its community with the same tools to make money – and the emphasis there is on the community aspect.
While eight million certainly isn’t small, it’s a figure that pales in comparison to the reach of a mainstream social network. 78 percent of online users in the US between the age of 18 and 24 have a Snapchat account. 82 percent of this same demographic uses the app every single day. In total, 190 million people around the world use Snapchat each day. Twitter, by comparison, has 126 million daily active users.
As a pool of potential fans and followers, these platforms have a ubiquity and breadth of access that dedicated platforms couldn’t really hope to achieve, realistically.
Which is why the cat-and-mouse game between mainstream social media networks and adult performers is set to continue for the foreseeable future.