Have you heard of OnlyFans? I had heard of it prior to attending World Without Exploitation’s (WorldWE) webinar, OnlyFans and the Growth of Online Exploitation During the COVID-19 Pandemic, but I was shocked to learn a lot of new information.
At this point, you might be asking, “Well, what is OnlyFans?” Put simply, OnlyFans is a new category of social media that entails the selling of explicit photos and videos. Initially, OnlyFans was operating under the radar. However, mainstream media and celebrities have given a lot of exposure to OnlyFans, causing it to grow bigger. According to WorldWE’s webinar, “OnlyFans was founded in 2016 and, by the end of 2020, it has almost 100 million users.” Additionally, COVID-19 acted as an accelerant in the explosion of OnlyFans for several reasons. First, COVID-19 kept people isolated at home, causing them to search for explicit media; secondly, it brought economic challenges and hardships for people, causing OnlyFans to become much more enticing as it presented itself as a way of making money from home.
At its core, OnlyFans is a way to monetize sexually explicit through social media by providing content to your followers. There are two parties involved in this: the content creators and the users. If you create an account as a content creator, you are required to prove your age by providing identification. It is far too easy to provide a fake ID or lie about your age, making it easy for minors to become content creators. Once your account is created, users can subscribe to you. Depending on how many followers a content creator has and the demand for their sexually explicit content, the content creator sets a rate for how much they will charge for their users to view their photos and videos.
Another issue with OnlyFans is the dangerous power dynamic between the content creators and the users. While content creators must provide identification, users are able to register anonymously. “Those who use OnlyFans to share sexual content can be coerced by third party exploiters and traffickers to hand over the control of their profiles, which can result in their photos or content appearing on pornography sites without their consent.”
There is a reason why the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) named it as one of the Dirty Dozen in their list of 12 mainstream entities because they are actively facilitating and profiting from sexual abuse and exploitation. OnlyFans is complacent in fueling the demand for sexual exploitation. We need to talk about it and spread awareness of the dangers of OnlyFans because, as put by one of the speakers, Adam Dodge, on this webinar, OnlyFans can be described as “Instagram meets PornHub.”
If you haven’t read our blog post on the extreme dangers of PornHub, I encourage you to read it here to better understand the bigger picture of the dangers of OnlyFans. To watch the webinar to which I have referred in this blog, click here.