London-based content creation platform OnlyFans is under scrutiny as an investigative report revealed that minors are actually using it to sell explicit content because of "easy money."
Faithwire reported that children were able to use the platform to post explicit content by using fake IDs despite OnlyFans stating that only individuals 18 years older can create accounts in it.
An investigative report conducted by BBC showed that minors aged 12 to 17 have been using the platform for a long time to earn money.
OnlyFans is a content-creation service established in 2016 by Timothy Stokely where "fans" fund the creator in several modes such as per view, every month, or one-time if the content provided them is pleasing. Content vary from exclusive album releases to fashionable products. However, reports have shown that the platform's 120 million global user-base is now being used for sex trafficking of minors.
The BBC report cited a 17-year-old girl from England who earned around $7,000 for posting sexually explicit videos of herself, while a 16-year-old girl, also from England, boasted in Instagram that she is making lots of money in OnlyFans for the "very sexualized, pornographic" images she has been posting there.
Faithwire said another content creator revealed she has been using the platform since she was 13 years old and is fully aware that she shouldn't be posting photos of herself there but just wants to be like other kids who easily earn money.
"I don't wanna talk about the types of pictures I post on there, and I know it's not appropriate for kids my age to be doing this, but it's an easy way to make money. Some of the girls have thousands of followers on Instagram, and they must be raking it in. I wanna be just like them," the undisclosed girl said.
The United Kingdom's leading chief constable for child protection Simon Bailey pointed out that OnlyFans isn't doing its efforts to safeguard children from being exploited and from using their platform. A possible reason to this is that OnlyFans earn 20% of a content creator's earnings.
While the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Vice President Staca Shehan revealed that that they have found the platform is linked to cases of missing children.
"There were around a dozen children known to be missing being linked with content on OnlyFans (in 2019). Last year, the number of those cases nearly tripled," she raised.
The Guardian reported that OnlyFans earned big by 615% as of November 2020 as compared to a year before due to the pandemic. The platform earned £1.7 billion ($2.4 billion) that allowed its director a £2 million ($2.8 million) salary in 2020 and pay dividends of £20m ($28.38m) besides being able to acquire a new business at £23 million ($32.6 million). Most of its earnings it gets from selling pornography online through the content of its members or creators.
The Guardian revealed that OnlyFans has 69 million active customers in the United States as of 2020 and that a majority of the business was sold in 2019 to U.S.-based online pornographer Leonid Radvinsky. The Guardian said the owners are doing their best to filter its member base from minors sine they know that it would cause them sanctions from various governments their platform is used in.