The reality of OnlyFans exposed in latest research
U.S research and survivor services organisation, Avery Center, have released a significant report exposing the reality of OnlyFans, a subscriber-only social media platform that allows people to sell pornographic content of themselves. Introducing the report, Avery Center writes:
“By November of 2020, OnlyFans’ revenues for the year were $400 million, up 540% from 2019, and while it is a UK based company, 80% of its revenues came from American customers… Today, OnlyFans is a household name, and debate rages on about how the platform will be held accountable for exploitative and abusive content bought and sold on the site.”
OnlyFans Reinforces Systems of Oppression for Marginalised Communities
Often portrayed as a great way for young women to make money, and a better, safer option than traditional prostitution, the report highlights the opposite is true for OnlyFans content creators with many returning to ‘in-person’ sex following stints on the platform:
“[OnlyFans] wasn’t working for me the way I had hoped so I had to keep working as [an in-person] sex worker.”
“I wasn’t making enough. I was doing way too much for not enough. I don’t have the energy to put into becoming successful on OF especially after doing in-person work.”
Not only has the report proven OnlyFans to be an ineffective off-ramp for women in prostitution, but content creators also shared how the platform facilitates buyers to find individuals willing to meet for in-person transactions: “It [led] me to start in-person work. I realized I was already doing online [sex work] and I know I could make more doing in person.”
According to the report, sex buyers repeatedly confirmed the fact that digital content did not replace in-person transactions but were complementary to them: “When you have met her in person and anticipate seeing her again the vids are quite an enhancer! And they are also a quick and cheap screening aid if you have not met her yet.”
Mental Health Risks for OnlyFans Content Creators
30% of respondents said the constant demand to create new content was a primary cause of anxiety and depression. They all said this came in the form of repeated emails and notifications: “They send emails that if you don’t post they [will] take your account down.”
Low self-esteem was noted as a risk factor for OnlyFans content creators as they face pressure to meet the unrealistic beauty standards of the porn industry: “I have had a negative mental health reaction due to certain subscribers’ negative comments about my body.”
Trafficking is happening on OnlyFans
More than half of respondents said they did not feel that OnlyFans does enough screening of content creators and subscribers during the site registration process. 11% of those surveyed said they were aware of minors who had accounts on OnlyFans, and said they estimated they personally were aware of a total of 35 minors who had content of them sold on the platform. 6% of respondents self-disclosed that their traffickers helped them create and market their OnlyFans content.
30% of the content creators said they received private messages from suspected traffickers offering to manage their accounts for a portion or all the proceeds from their subscription revenue.
Read the full report here.