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OnlyFans Proves We Have a Bigger Porn Problem Than Addiction

OnlyFans logo via Internetmatters.org

When the news broke on Thursday that OnlyFans would effectively do away with the one thing everyone comes to the platform for and move into less taboo content, we were told it was due to “mounting pressure from banks.” That didn’t sit well as a satisfactory explanation for me. OnlyFans was effectively taking out its own legs with this move and unless the platform can think of a good way to replace one of the most lucrative online businesses in the world, it’s likely going to go the way of MySpace.

But like life, pornography will find a way. Judging from OnlyFans’ sudden about-face, the next site that hosts user-generated porn will have a lot of the same problems. It’s also the same problem that caused PornHub to effectively eliminate a vast majority of its porn videos. It’s the same problem that shut down XTube entirely.

(Don’t Get Cocky: Those Celebrating the Porn Site Shutdown Should See a Bigger Issue)

According to the BBC, OnlyFans had an illegal porn problem, and what’s more, it was being relatively lax with the rule breakers if they were successful enough:

In May, BBC News revealed the site was failing to prevent under-18s from selling and appearing in explicit videos, despite it being illegal for children to do so. At the time, OnlyFans said attempts to use the site fraudulently were “rare”.

Now, the leaked documents show accounts are not automatically shut down if they break the site’s terms of service.

Moderators have also told BBC news they have found prostitution services advertised, bestiality and material one moderator believed to be incest.

One moderator for the site going by the alias “Christof,” said he viewed up to 2,000 photos and videos a day and found illegal content including bestiality and offers of prostitution. After doing his job, he was sometimes informed that he “over-moderated” on the site:

He says he has found illegal and extreme content in videos – including bestiality involving dogs and the use of spy cams, guns, knives and drugs. Some material is not actively searched for by moderators as frequently as he believes it should be, says Christof, despite being banned under the platform’s terms of service.

On multiple occasions, he says, OnlyFans told him he over-moderated, particularly in relation to videos showing sex in public and to “third-party” content – material featuring people not registered with OnlyFans.

OnlyFans says moderators are given specific briefs and if they routinely go beyond them they will be “directed to focus only on their assigned type of content”. Christof also says that despite being banned, the advertising of sex for sale is common among low earners on the site.

What’s more, OnlyFans became something of a sex trafficking site according to law enforcement officials, reported the BBC:

Detective Joseph Scaramucci, who works in Texas in the US, says he has recently worked on specific cases targeting human trafficking where there were obvious signs of women under another person’s control appearing in OnlyFans videos. He says some men are happy to pay for sex with these women and pay a premium to be filmed and have the footage uploaded to OnlyFans.

This month, 101 members of Congress signed a letter calling for the US Department for Justice to investigate content on OnlyFans, principally focusing on child sexual exploitation. In response, OnlyFans said it has a zero tolerance policy relating to child sexual abuse material, reports it to relevant authorities and supports their investigations.

Special agent Austin Berrier, from US Homeland Security, specialises in investigating child exploitation online. He estimates he finds between 20-30 child abuse images a week which he says have clearly originated on OnlyFans. He says every internet forum he has visited as part of his investigations in the past six months or so, has included child abuse images from OnlyFans. Most of them are videos that were live streamed on the site. In some of them, children are receiving direction – he says.

I could continue with the report, but you get the point. OnlyFans isn’t just a porn site where consenting adults exchange money and services. It’s where people who want to exploit everyone from homeless people to animals and children, can traffic wares and people illegally. We tend to think that crimes this horrific are only done on underground black markets, but they aren’t. They’re happening on major platforms.

America’s porn addiction is fertile ground for these crimes and should be watched like hawks eyeing a wounded rat.

More importantly, it needs to be understood that while OnlyFans is going the way of the dodo, its model won’t. Another app or site will rise to take its place and become just as popular. The ease with which people can use it to obtain cash or even approval from strangers will become attractive to many people, especially women. More accurately, it will likely appeal to young women.

In today’s age, we live with an audience. Social media, if you choose to participate in it, are you displaying your life and thoughts for the public to see. For young people, this is an almost irresistible draw and the consequences this comes with are many. One big part is the endorphin hits the young become addicted to. Girls, in particular, get these endorphin hits through attention and approval from others, and some will go to great lengths to get it.

This may lead them to seek it by displaying their bodies to men who will tell her how much they adore her, and these platforms will be more than ready to facilitate them. The pandora’s box this opens for them will affect them for the rest of their lives. There’s no telling who’s watching, saving the photos, and becoming obsessed. She will be propositioned and maybe even tempted.

Porn used to be an issue that men primarily suffered from, but the internet has now made it addictive to girls. Porn will most certainly never be eradicated from the internet, but it doesn’t matter. Defense against its draw starts in the home. Guard your children. There are predators out there and they wait for you on platforms like OnlyFans.