During the pandemic era, the content subscription platform OnlyFans – the subscription-based adult-entertainment site – has boomed. Revenue at the UK-based company rose by 553% in the year 2020, and users spent $2.36 billion on the site, a seven-fold increase from previous years.
OnlyFans is marketed as a site where individual content creators are provided a platform to access quick funds and monetize imagery that would be deemed inappropriate for Instagram and other mainstream platforms. But there is another, darker side to the OnlyFans story.
Due to the global economic crisis, an increasing number of students and young people – who often work in the low-wage service jobs that have been lost over the last year – are turning to OnlyFans out of desperation. But this is not risk-free or adults-only: OnlyFans poses unique dangers and threats to online and offline safety. Research commissioned by the BBC found that on a single day, a third of Twitter profiles advertising ‘nudes4sale’ (or something like this) appeared to belong to underage individuals. Many of those individuals used OnlyFans to share sexual content.
What’s more, third party exploiters and traffickers can convince vulnerable individuals and young people to turn over control of their OnlyFans profiles, which can result in their photos or content appearing on pornography sites places without their consent.
During our May 13 webinar we will hear from three experts – Adam Dodge, Harmony Grillo and Angie Henderson – who will discuss the links between OnlyFans, economic injustice, cyber sexual abuse, and the commercial sex trade. And they will help us think in new ways about what to do to address this.