|Founded||November 2016; 4 years ago|
|Owner||Fenix International Limited|
OnlyFans is a content subscription service operated over the Internet and based in London. Content creators can earn money from users who subscribe to their content—the fans. It allows content creators to receive funding directly from their fans on a monthly basis as well as one-time tips and the pay-per-view (PPV) feature. The website has 2 million content creators and 130 million users.
The service is popular with and commonly associated with sex workers but it also hosts the work of other content creators, such as physical fitness experts, musicians and other creators who post regularly online.
The website has been criticized for hosting child sexual abuse material, though the National Center on Sexual Exploitation reports negligible numbers of incidents in comparison to Facebook. A campaign to investigate OnlyFans began in the U.S. Congress in August 2021. It was reported on 19 August 2021 that from October 2021 onward, OnlyFans would no longer allow sexually explicit material due to pressure from banks, but this decision was reversed six days later due to backlash among users and creators alike.
OnlyFans was launched in November 2016 as a platform for performers to provide clips and photos to followers for a monthly subscription fee. Tim Stokely founded the company alongside his older brother, Thomas, and with the help of a £10,000 (US$13,271.96) loan from his father, Guy Stokely, who told him Tim, this is going to be the last one. His brother became the companys chief operating officer and his father is head of finance for OnlyFans.
Two years later, Ukrainian-American businessman Leonid Radvinsky, owner of MyFreeCams, acquired 75% ownership of Fenix International Limited and became its director. After this, OnlyFans became increasingly focused on not safe for work (NSFW) content and gained a pop culture reputation for being a hive of pornography.
OnlyFans charges a 20% fee for all transactions made on the site.
In 2019, OnlyFans introduced an extra safeguard into the account verification process so that a creator now has to provide a selfie headshot with their ID in the image in order to prove that the ID provided belongs to the account holder. The site has over 24 million registered users and claims to have paid out £526,785,000 (US$725 million) to its 450,000 content creators.
After the site was mentioned by Beyoncé in the remix of the Megan Thee Stallion song, Savage, in April 2020, CEO Tim Stokely claimed OnlyFans was seeing about 200,000 new users every 24 hours and 7,000 to 8,000 new creators joining every day. It was reportedly a 15% spike in traffic after the remixs release. In the same line, Savage also mentioned Demon Time, a social media show, and shortly after the release of that song, OnlyFans announced a partnership with Demon Time to create a monetized virtual night club using the sites dual-screen live feature.
In January 2020, 20-year-old American Kaylen Ward raised more than US$1 million in contributions to charity during the wild bushfires in Australia. OnlyFans teamed with her for their first partnership for a charitable cause. This started a trend with some OnlyFans creators who have been raising money through their accounts.
Bella Thorne earned $1 million in a day, sparking controversy
Bella Thorne set a new OnlyFans record when she earned over $1 million within 24 hours of joining the platform in August 2020 and more than $2 million in less than a week. Her activities on OnlyFans sparked controversy after she allegedly promised nude photos for $200 but instead only provided lingerie-clad photographs, leading to a slew of chargebacks. Following the debacle, new restrictions were introduced that limited the amount that other creators on the platform could charge and how quickly they could get paid, though OnlyFans stated the restrictions were unrelated to Thorne but rather part of an evolving process. Thornes actions caused backlash among sex workers who felt Thorne had selfishly appropriated their profession.
Bhad Bhabie broke Thornes OnlyFans record in April 2021 by earning over $1 million in the first 6 hours. This event sparked criticism on social media about her subscribers given that she had turned 18 the previous week.
2021 planned porn ban
Shortly following increased campaigning against OnlyFans due to concerns about child sexual abuse material, on 19 August 2021, the company announced that from 1 October 2021 onwards it will not be allowing sexually explicit content. The company pushed the update through a new Terms of Service Policy. The company would still have allowed nudity on some grounds.
The reason for this shift was initially reported as pressure from credit card companies including Mastercard, but CEO Tim Stokely later told Financial Times that it was due to withdrawn support from banks such as BNY Mellon and JPMorgan Chase, and that Mastercard had no bearing on the decision. Stokely said that BNY Mellon had flagged and rejected each transaction from the company and that Metro Bank had withdrawn support abruptly in 2019.
The decision was met with widespread backlash by creators and consumers of OnlyFans. Six days after the initial announcement, OnlyFans said that they would be reversing the decision and that adult content would be allowed on the site indefinitely, citing that they had secured assurances necessary to do so.
In August 2020, Forensic News reported that the company is facing multiple allegations of fraud and theft after content creators and users said they had money stolen from their accounts. Forensic News later reported that Radvinskys previous business ventures had been flagged by banks for indicators of money laundering.
There have been conflicting reports on the safety of the OnlyFans site in terms of personal safety and economic security. Creators have been stalked and harassed by clients, sometimes resulting in the lleaking of the creators personal information. Contributors to the site are hypothetically able to choose when and what they post and who receives it; however, the spike in users has caused competition and has forced contributors to post content that may be outside of their comfort zone to compete with others.
Concerns about child sexual abuse material
A BBC Three documentary alleged in 2020 that a third of Twitter profiles globally advertising nudes4sale (or similar) belong to underage individuals, many of whom used OnlyFans to share their content. In May 2021, the BBC reported that OnlyFans was failing to prevent underage users from selling and appearing in explicit videos after an investigation. This included reports from UK Police, schools and Childline. However, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reported under 100 instances of child sexual abuse material on OnlyFans per year, while MindGeek-owned companies accounted for around 13,000 cases, Twitter accounted for 65,000 and Facebook accounted for 20 million instances, around 95% of total recorded incidents.
On 10 August 2021, US Congresswoman Ann Wagner—known for introducing the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) bill—announced a bipartisan coalition pressuring the Department of Justice to investigate OnlyFans for child exploitation, citing increasing reports by law enforcement and child safety organizations that minors are being sold on OnlyFans, as well as instances of sex trafficking and image-based abuse. Over 100 Congresspeople signed the petition. The Christian pressure group Exodus Cry and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, founded as a Catholic organization, were cited as influencers in the campaign against the website.
OnlyFans is mainly used by pornographic creators, both amateur and professional, but it also has a market with chefs, fitness trainers, and musicians. Users must be at least 18 years old to register, regardless of the content consumed according to company rules. In March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of OnlyFans content creators increased by 40%, and the number of users on the site increased from 7.5 million to 85 million.
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A first-generation immigrant from Ukraine, technology was imprinted on Leo at an early age
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