OnlyFans: What is it and can it be dangerous

Róisín Cullen

In Ancient Greece nudity was associated with the gods long before another God came onto the scene with the spread of Christianity. This higher being did not look upon depictions of female nudity as favourably as his Greek counterparts did.

The idea of female nudity instead became associated with sin and shame, a one-way, non-refundable ticket out of The Garden of Eden. It may be acceptable for Adam and Eve to be depicted as naked in the Story of Creation but the taboos of nudity and partial nudity are topics that still create controversy in the 21st century world of Instagram.

Explicit content on the popular photo sharing site is banned along with images of breast feeding mothers and the widely feared female nipple. This left a gap in the market that was soon filled.

OnlyFans has allowed users to create and share “subscription- based content” for followers since 2016. The website now boasts over 25,000,000 users and has its own share of success stories. Exclusive content is shared on the site for a monthly fee along with the option of question and answer sessions, personalised messages, videos and even shared Spotify playlists.

The account holder is in complete control of their choice of content and how much they want the monthly subscription fee to be. However, OnlyFans take 20% of all subscription fees and also slip 20% out of the tip jar.  Creators vary from mothers who once struggled to care for their children while working multiple jobs, college students who rely on their earnings to pay for rent in expensive universities and social media influencers who want to boost their following outside of the land of Zuckerberg.

Whether they are motivated by the allure of financial gain in an uncertain economy, a confidence boost or a modern alternative to the traditional part time job- people from all walks of life choose to complete a simple process and create their accounts.

The popular site that has become a livelihood for many has been in the public eye recently for the wrong reasons. Irish women attributing the site to their financial success have been met by criticism on Twitter. The risk of leaked content is always in the back of users’ minds, a high possibility they come to accept.

While there may be a pay-wall (through a third party company) to protect subscription only content, a security software does not currently exist to prevent this content being shared on other social media networks.

Well known OnlyFans personalities recently critiqued the site’s response to its latest scandal. Rumours of a data breach had to be quickly addressed when Twitter users offered free links to explicit content originally posted on OnlyFans.

Steve Pym, the company’s Head of Marketing  stated that they had “found no evidence of any breach of our systems” when the leaks led to large financial losses for affected account holders.  The leaks were instead attributed to other social media applications.

The site is not renowned for its security, but this is something that social media influencers, sex workers, models and “everyday” creators have learned to accept and have adapted to accordingly.

“I personally feel pretty safe on it but I do try to be really cautious to not get my face in anything because there is always a fear that something will get leaked and it’s also something you kind of have to accept or prepare yourself for when you start an OnlyFans,” explained a female account holder in her early twenties who would prefer to remain anonymous.

Róisín Cullen

Image Credit: Wikimedia