After an ongoing BBC investigation into the ins and outs of the international subscription site OnlyFans, it has been decided that sexually explicit videos and photographs on the platform will be banned from October 1st 2021.
Founded in 2016 in London, OnlyFans is a subscription based platform whereby people can pay on a monthly subscription or pay one-offs and tips to content creators in exchange for material, which is usually sexually explicit in nature. Having taken the adult entertainment world by storm over the last couple of years, OnlyFans is home to more than 1 million content creators and more than 50 million subscribers.
Some of the content creators on OnlyFans have been known to make millions from their accounts. With subscriptions starting at £5.99 to a high of £49.99. Private messaging and ‘special views’ cost extra, it seems that there’s a pretty hefty wage going for the content creators! Some examples of these creators include:
- Actress Bella Thorne made over £2 million within a few days of opening her account – nuts right?
- Cardi B – an American rapper reaps in a whopping £7.1 million a month.
- Former Love Island contestant Megan Barton Hanson makes more than £1m per month!
It’s not just celebrities though, as ‘normal’ people have been known to quit their day jobs and become full-time content creators for the platform, which in some cases has seen their annual salary more than triple!
Despite this, internal documents which have been leaked to the BBC, prompting an investigation by the broadcaster, have revealed that moderators of the platform were allowed to give multiple warnings to accounts and creators who posted illegal content before action was taken to shut these accounts down. Following additional leaks, updated documents, including moderators “Compliance Manuals”, showed that moderators recommended three warnings before an account was shut. With another document suggesting that five warnings were needed for illegal content before the account would be disabled. However, these rules weren’t applied to everybody. With accounts with large followings, which in turn generate more revenue for the platform, given more warnings than ‘regular’ accounts.
The discovery is quite shocking. Especially when it has come to light that the illegal content posted by these accounts is very much against OnlyFans official Terms Of Service. Not to mention the law.
Some of the illegal content found on the platform included prostitution and competitions for sex, incest, spycams, guns / knives and drugs, underage photography, beastiality and on some occasions ‘Third-Party’ content meaning it contained content from individuals who weren’t even OnlyFans users! The issue of underage material on OnlyFans came to light earlier this year, however it’s very clear that little was done to solve the issue and enforce stricter restrictions on their accounts.
OnlyFans take a commission of 20% for each payment, potentially highlighting their blissful ignorance to the illegal content, as they highlight their interest in the money rather than the wellbeing and safety of their users.
The platform’s CEO Tim Stokely has come under significant fire following the leaks and subsequent BBC investigation. Yet they have strongly denied the ‘acceptance’ of illegal content. They sought to establish that their own “Compliance Manual” was simply guidance for their moderators. Stokeley remains adamant that they enforce the law throughout their platform effectively, but it seems that OnlyFans has had its halo taken away and replaced with horns. With further investigations likely to follow, OnlyFans have agreed to update their compliance manual as well as terms of service… But is this ultimately the beginning of the end for the platform?
The company has instructed that by October, sexually explicit content will be banned from the platform. However, their rebuttal seems futile. As accounts will still be able to post nude images, but they can’t be sexually explicit. Now, this seems like a rather large loophole… With the ability to still have nude content on the site, it seems as though not enough is being done. When the new Terms Of Service come into effect from October, it will be interesting to see whether the platform still ‘favours’ those with the larger subscription and make the most money. Whether they will then be able to still have leverage with under-age content, that’s unknown. All we know for sure is that if OnlyFans fails to comply with the law and their word, it could be a slippery slope from here.
It will be interesting to see where OnlyFans goes from here, with such a huge fire at it’s A*S. Let’s just hope that the illegal content will be shut down – there’s no excuses for that!