The demand for digital products, services, commerce, and platforms was always going to grow to the current levels. But the post-COVID-19 pandemic era added fuel to the fire, triggering more digital spaces for the people to spend their time. Consequently, the same also arose new earning opportunities for people like content creators. One such platform that has recently gained traction, and is only becoming more popular every day, is “OnlyFans.”
You might have read or heard of it already, maybe for not-so-good reasons (sometimes). But despite its somewhat grey reputation, the platform has gained attention, as visible from its digital presence. For instance, it attracted three times more Twitter followers from April to September 2020. Besides, OnlyFans is currently among the top 430 most-visited websites globally (according to Alexa rankings).
So, it is evident that people worldwide are jumping on the bandwagon to spend time and make money. But, if you’re concerned about online privacy, you might be curious to know the OnlyFans privacy status.
So, this guide presents a detailed OnlyFans security inspection for better awareness.
What is OnlyFans?
OnlyFans is a digital content platform launched in November 2016, where celebrities or influencers can share private content with a base of followers (paying followers in most cases). So a “fan” can see the free content that those influencers release or “unlock” it by paying a fee for a subscription for a given item or post.
Pornography seems to be the OnlyFan’s bread and butter. Porn stars, amateur porn personalities, and webcam models flocked to the website to set up accounts and share NSFW material with any fan willing to pay for it. As a result, most of the content in OnlyFans is porn, making it famous.
Nonetheless, some celebrities or influencers also use the platform to spread complete information and family-friendly content. So it’s not very different from a Facebook page for these celebrities, except that the content is better curated for their fans. However, the bulk of the content you can find in OnlyFans is sexual, by far.
Since we’re concerned about privacy anywhere on the internet, we decided to have a serious look into OnlyFans and how it operates. Our team reviewed the security, safety, and privacy implications for paying users and OnlyFans content producers. And we found some pretty fishy stuff right from the beginning.
Ownership and OnlyFans – A checkered past
OnlyFans’ owner is Leonid Radvinsky, a Ukrainian-American porn businessman whose professional history includes lawsuits and allegations of theft and fraud. He also owns many other platforms similar to OnlyFans, with a heavy focus on porn.
Most of the lawsuits involving Mr. Radvinsky happened in the early 2000s, hinting at his interests and reputation even before OnlyFans became a thing. Some of those lawsuits ended up with very “generous” out-of-court settlements. Mr. Radvinsky has not had any legal problems lately that we could confirm.
Regarding OnlyFans security, the platform includes many features to protect content producers and fans. So it’s unfair to call the website “bad” only because the owner has a history with the law.
However, it’s tough to call OnlyFans a “squeaky clean” platform. Forensic News has an investigative piece about the history of OnlyFans, documenting some most recent problems with the platform, which indicates that OnlyFans is not as completely safe as users would probably like.
OnlyFans and Data Breaches (security and privacy)
In early 2020, 1.6TB of OnlyFans data appeared on a cloud storage platform to become public. Ideally, OnlyFans should have expressed regret over the incident, as any other firm practicing business ethics and caring about users’ data safety would do.
However, OnlyFans merely issued a statement denying the breach altogether. Specifically, the company’s leadership stated that the “leaked” content surfaced online because some paying users stole it from behind a paywall and released it to the public.
Perhaps, this is a pretty awful statement that shows the firm’s arrogance towards the users and ignorance towards security. Even considering that the data theft happened behind a paywall indicates the platform’s vulnerability to such breaches. It also hints at the underlying non-exclusivity of this platform’s “exclusive” content that may appear on the internet by alternative means.
OnlyFans safety claims
The current new account verification process for content creators in OnlyFans came online in May 2019. The innovation in the process required a “selfie” with the creator in question visibly holding the ID. However, a BBC research team found that underage users managed to pass this step in the process using somebody else’s ID. It suggests that the age verification policy is far from perfect.