OnlyFans have endured one of the most incredible 18 months in the history of internet commerce, going from a relatively niche product for adult celebrities, to a Sex Linkedin for Gen Z.
OnlyFans was originally established on the back of the public interest for nude celebrity photos and they quickly developed a native IOS and Android app- as well as a full web interface with a relatively easy to use "social media feel" user interface . Only Fans, does not want to be depicted as a porn site, they say it's a social media experience for both the consumer and the seller. "Fans" develop one on one relationships with the pornographers they follow, sending messages, tipping, subscribe for a monthly fee and even moving in to more traditional forms of prostitution.
Youtube influencers, like mega influencer David Dobrik frequently feature young, beautiful and very successful Only Fans stars on his channel, who's fans run in the 10-17 year old demographic. Young women describe their six figure a month earnings, flexible working hours and their love for the job. The stories recounted by this mega influencers female friends are a glossed over rebranded version of the grimy truth of OnlyFans.
No one under the age of 18 should be able to upload content to only fans, but there's almost no checks and balances.
" I took a picture holding my mothers drivers license, no one noticed", remarked one girl, who performed for 2 weeks on only fans from her bedroom in London before the police were involved.
Only Fans are slow to move on content that is either exploitative or illegal- as the case of a British 17 year old who made $5,000 in a week boasting that she was underage before the site removed her, or the 14 year old who uploaded videos masturbating and stripping on the platform- as the metropolitan police noted in 2021.
The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, in 2019, had located 12 exploited minors on onlyfans, but this number tripled in 2020. Some of these videos depicted stripping, child abuse and trafficking- but many of it was self generated sexually abuse videos and photos.
OnlyFans has created a glamourous image for it's brand- but OnlyFans staff moderators have since blown the whistle and revealed that they found numerous examples of prostitution, spy cam footage, revenge porn and incest. What is even more insidious is what was revealed in a leaked only fans internal document in which OnlyFans moderators admitted to removing some illegal material, but still allowing most offending accounts to generate more pornography.
One of the most deceptive lies that OnlyFans have successfully pushed is that young girls who join will become independent small business owners, or will be able to purchase houses and supercars with their Only Fans income- nothing could be further from the truth.
OnlyFans has been carefully creating its PR machine to sponsor content about teachers, paramedics and stay at home mothers who are earning a live changing supplementary income , but these are nothing more than a few cherry picked marketing moves, or flat out fantasies. The average user who uploads content to onlyfans makes $100-200 a month, but many make absolutely nothing.
OnlyFans is trying to ride the line between social media platform, job networking and hardcore pornography- fusing technology and sex for Gen Z in a way which has never previously been attempted. Coronavirus has resulted in OnlyFans booming in users and revenue- but not implementing basic safeguarding which could protect extremely young and vulnerable users from accessing the site.