OnlyFans: the trade of X, next generation

OnlyFans: the X trade, next generation


LISBON | Tool of emancipation for actresses facing the sex industry or antechamber of prostitution? The social subscription platform OnlyFans has become in a few years the technological symbol of amateur and uninhibited pornography. 

If the site founded in 2016 in the United Kingdom highlights its cooking or music lessons as much as its adult content, it is the latter – photos and videos – that make the success of the platform to 180 million users. users and some 2 million creators, figures that exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone on the platform is an adult”, assured Wednesday the new leader of OnlyFans, Amrapali Gan, speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon, insisting on the strict age and identity controls that have been in place for several months.

“What is interesting about OnlyFans is the freedom. We control what we do, it's independent, not mainstream porn. We do what we like, what we want to do, what our subscribers also want, ”explained to AFP Kny Vy, porn actress and former video game streamer, member of a union commission. French sex work (Strass) dedicated to platforms.

The new leader of OnlyFans, Amrapali Gan.

OnlyFans takes a 20% commission on subscriptions of a few tens of euros that “fans” take out to access or order content from creators. Since its creation, the site would have donated more than 10 billion dollars, indicated its leader.

For Kny Vy, who has invested in professional filming equipment and has a substantial community, these revenues vary between 600 and 3,500 euros per month, but they are much lower for the majority of creators.

“Sexual exploitation”

“The more content you post, the more your followers stick with your pages. It's like on Instagram”, explains one of them, who defines herself as “libertine” and also has her own site to distribute her content, produced as a “hobby” alongside another professional activity. .

According to her, OnlyFans offers both payment facilities to fans and “a more secure framework” than traditional studios in the porn industry to actresses, which allows them “to refuse practices they don't want to do”.

But the development of the platform and competing sites like the French MYM “encourages the idea that selling photos of your body helps you make ends meet. It necessarily encourages prostitution”, judge Sandrine Goldschmidt, representative of the Mouvement du Nid, an abolitionist association.

And even without physical contact, this “commodification of bodies” is similar, according to her, to “the sexual exploitation”.

“Many young victims of prostitution began by posting their ads on the OnlyFans site,” said Bérengère Wallaert, general delegate of the association Agir pour la protection des enfants (ACPE), who considers that OnlyFans facilitates the in relation to vulnerable young girls with clients or pimps.

“Nothing happens on OnlyFans without us knowing about it”, Amrapali Gan defended herself on Wednesday during the Web Summit. “Every content (photo, video and private message) is moderated”, both by an automatic system and “by a human”, she added.

OnlyFans had tried last year to ban sexual content, a move interpreted as an attempt to reassure investors before a potential IPO. But the site had finally given up in the face of the rebellion of the creators and had explained that it had obtained the support of banks and payment operators, who threatened to cut ties.

“We are a private company. We are not taking any steps with a view to an IPO,” its manager said on Wednesday.