Creator Policy Engagement Program Update: Q4 2021

Last month, we announced and hosted a livestream about the Policy Team’s two focus areas for the fourth quarter of the year: Mastercard’s new requirements for platforms like Patreon that host 18+/adult content, and our proposed guidelines update to allow for creator coins as a membership benefit. Hundreds of creators shared ideas, questions, and input over the past few weeks. Read on for updates and next steps from the Policy Team, as well as a preview of what’s to come in 2022.

Mastercard’s Requirements Affecting Adult/18+ Creators

Intending to combat illegal content like revenge porn and Child Sexual Abuse Material, Mastercard is requiring adult/18+ creators to provide certain information which is crucial for their facilitation of transactions for our creators. The two key requirements affecting adult/18+ creators, which begin Friday, October 15, 2021, are:

  1. Age & Identity Verification (applicable to ALL creators categorized as adult/18+)
    Mastercard requires all adult/18+ creators to confirm their date of birth and identity by providing a form of government-issued identification. We’ll be working with trusted third-party companies that specialize in data security for this type of sensitive content. Adult/18+ creators on the platform will be notified when it’s time to upload their identification.
  2. Consent Documentation (applicable to SOME* creators categorized as adult/18+)
    Mastercard requires adult/18+ creators to document that any real people visually appearing in their content are adults who have consented to the content’s creation and distribution. Creators should obtain and retain this consent documentation and be able to produce it upon request. This requirement applies to content published Friday, October 15, 2021 onward.
    *Adult/18+ creators whose work features visual depictions of real people (photography and video content, for example, as opposed to audio or animated content).

Input and candor from adult/18+ creators following last month’s announcement and livestream helped us develop the following resources tailored to your specific needs.

Across the Policy Team’s major feedback channels, you submitted hundreds of questions. 

  • To provide clarity for as many adult/18+ creators as possible, we compiled and answered the most common questions in a Help Center article designed to be an enduring resource. We will update the Help Center article with any additional details and resources that arise.

Some adult/18+ creators were uncertain whether one or both of Mastercard’s requirements apply to them individually.

  • To minimize uncertainty, we have identified adult/18+ creators on the platform who are affected not only by the Age and Identity Verification requirement, but also by the Consent Documentation requirement (see above for details). We will communicate this to those creators specifically.

Adult/18+ creators who need to comply with the Consent Documentation requirement were extremely enthusiastic about the prospect of Patreon providing a legal template for you to use.

  • Working with our Legal Team, we developed that template, which for your convenience we’ve translated into several different languages. The template will also be available in the Help Center article for creators to easily access.

Certain adult/18+ creators shared that although they are categorized as adult/18+, under our Community Guidelines, their content doesn’t appear to require the categorization.

  • Our Trust & Safety team is open to reviewing the pages of creators whose content can feasibly be recategorized from adult/18+ to “safe for work,” or appropriate for all audiences. Reach out to Guidelines@Patreon.com for details.

Some adult/18+ creators noted the policy livestream’s emphasis on the Mastercard requirements and asked for programming or resources to address some of their more general questions.

  • We do not consider that livestream to be the end of adult/18+ specific policy communications and welcome creator thoughts on additional formats that would be useful. In the meantime, we encourage adult/18+ creators to join our Discord, which features a dozen channels devoted to supporting and engaging the adult/18+ creator community. You can also email questions about your specific content to Guidelines@Patreon.com.

Creator Coins as a Membership Benefit

This quarter, the Policy Team also gauged creator interest in a guidelines update to give you the option to offer social tokens developed with a third party as a membership benefit. Dozens of creators reached out with ideas and questions about what this could look like in practice. From exclusive events to merchandise and beyond, creators have already started talking about how they may use creator coins to connect with their patrons in new and unique ways. In light of this creator interest, we have added language to our Benefits Guidelines giving you that option. And informed by creator input, we also specify that these coins may not be offered as part of any sort of investment scheme, or to directly benefit creators or patrons financially.

Some creators asked whether this meant Patreon would allow for payments to be made via cryptocurrency, or whether NFTs would be involved, neither of which is the case (the update would focus specifically on creators offering tokens as a benefit). Others asked about the environmental impact of creators developing creator coins (we are exploring, among other solutions, avenues that can offset any resulting emissions). You can find answers to creator questions like these and more in this Help Center article we developed, which we will update with further details as they develop.

Looking Ahead to 2022

In addition to supporting the development of our content policy, the next iteration of our Creator Policy Engagement Program will engage you in the development of a public policy platform that puts creators first. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be hiring policy leads in Washington, D.C. and regions around the world, to support these efforts. We’ll be back soon with more details on how you can get involved.


Thank you, creators, for another quarter of feedback that has enriched Patreon’s policy development. If you have any questions, or want to share early ideas for our public policy platform, drop us a note at CreatorPolicy@Patreon.com.