OnlyFans does everything to get you hooked
Wim Pekaar, RD
The online platform OnlyFans has been especially popular since the corona crisis. Six questions about the platform.
What is OnlyFans?
OnlyFans consists of a website and an app where people can post their photos and videos. Others can subscribe to personal accounts for a fee to see a person's pictures and videos.
Almost all people with a profile on the platform share sexually explicit photos. To retain subscribers, they go to great lengths. So much so that the New York Times called OnlyFans "a paywall of porn". The platform is also described as the erotic counterpart of Instagram. The minimum age for signing up is 18.
The people who expose themselves are primarily models, influencers and sex workers. The platform operates internationally.
In August 2021, OnlyFans announced that they are banning explicit content from their platform after pressure from banking partners and paying providers.
A few days after, they reversed the ban due to a backlash from creators.
How popular is it?
The platform has been around since 2016 but was relatively unknown for the first few years. For about a year now, its popularity has been skyrocketing.
According to the latest figures, it has 170 million users and almost 1.5 million people sharing photos and videos of themselves, reports British CEO, Tim Stokely. In 2019, there were only 120,000 users.
OnlyFans became especially popular in the last year. The suspicion is that this has to do with the corona crisis. People were sitting at home and were online a lot. And for the models and sex workers, there was no work, so this platform became an alternative to make money.
When a few celebrities were in the news because they had created an account on OnlyFans, the number of users skyrocketed even further.
Does Christian youth also use it?
Presumably, yes, although it is difficult to give solid figures on this.
Jeroen van der Laan, a media wisdom practitioner at Hoornbeeck College in the Netherlands, wrote about the dangers of OnlyFans on the opinion page of the Reformatorisch Dagblad at the end of May 2021. He did a random survey among 300 Christian youngsters around the age of 18. It showed that two-thirds of these young people know of the platform's existence and that about 6 per cent have a paid subscription.
Who earns something from it?
The cost of a subscription depends on who you follow. The minimum amount is around
Five euros per month, but it can go up to 50 euros if you follow many popular people.
Not all this money goes directly to the people with a profile. OnlyFans puts 20 per cent in its own pocket.
Yet some people earn 10,000 euros per month on the platform. However, for most people, it will not bring in more than a few euros each month.
Why is OnlyFans addictive?
While most social media outlets prohibit and actively remove nude photos, OnlyFans encourages their posting. The more explicit the photos, the more paying subscribers and thus more revenue for the platform.
Once you are a subscriber, everything is done to get you addicted. For an extra ten euros a month, you can chat with the person behind the nude photos. Or for an extra 25 euros, you can get "personally customised" photos. This gives a feeling of exclusivity, which is addictive.
What are the objections?
The consequences of the pornographic material on OnlyFans were described by Van der Laan as "an exaggerated focus on sex, reduced confidence in a relationship, giving up hope of a monogamous relationship, the belief that abstinence is unhealthy, cynicism about love, undervaluation of marriage, reduced sexual satisfaction, a greater likelihood of engaging in illicit sexual activity, greater likelihood of divorce and significant psychological consequences."
In addition, explicit photos of under-18s regularly appear on OnlyFans. The media showed that it is not difficult for minors to circumvent the rules for opening an account.
This article was translated by CNE.news and previously published in Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad on June 15th, 2021.
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