In recent times we have heard a lot about OnlyFans, a social network for adults that has gained some relevance, mainly because of the erotic content uploaded by some familiar faces of television.

Related as it is with erotic or pornographic content, the debate is served, so before making an assessment of the platform in question and the type of publications that are styled in it, we wanted to analyze in detail what it is, who are its typical users and whether beyond the erotic can be a useful tool for other types of profiles (musicians, artists, etc.).

Brief history of OnlyFans

OnlyFans was born back in 2016 as a social network that would serve as a meeting point between fashion influencers and followers. Its creator, British Tim Stokely, initially conceived it as a premium content platform, for which users paid to see the publications of their “idols”.

However in 2018 the social network was acquired 75% by Leonid Radvinsky, owner of the live sex website MyFreeCams, and the site changed course and became what it is today, a platform for adults, where content creators share erotic or sexual images or videos, these being the main claim of the network.

In 2021, Stokely stepped down as CEO of the company and this position was taken over by Ami Gan, former director of communications and marketing. Currently, the CEO of OnlyFans is Keily Blair, former director of strategy and operations, who took over the position after Gan’s resignation.

Tim Stokely and Leonid Radvinsky

Influencers, musicians, actors, or well-known faces that use the social network, manage to generate income with these contents, which they receive directly from their followers or from the pay-per-view function. And perhaps because of this, it is worth noting that during the months of the pandemic OnlyFans went from 20 to 120 million registered users. Today, the platform has some 240 million users.

How Onlyfans works

It is necessary to be of legal age (over 18 years old) to register on Onlyfans, both as a creator and as a fan. In addition, to complete the registration, the person must be free of charges for sexual offenses and make sure that in their country it is allowed to join and view the content of the platform.

Fans can create their account for free to follow the people who post on the social network, but in order to access the content itself they must subscribe and pay a monthly fee that the creator himself sets.

In addition to viewing the content of the creators, fans can also receive paid messages with photos or premium videos, as well as write private messages to make some personalized requests. Both cases they have to make an additional payment.

Creators on OnlyFans

To become an OnlyFans creator you have to create a free account, verify your registration by showing your ID and a selfie photo (to prove you are of legal age) and set, as we said, a monthly fee for the fans’ subscription. The rest is to upload content and receive the income.

The interface is very similar to that of other platforms, so it is no more difficult than choosing the type of content to share.

In the case of revenue, creators receive 80% of the revenue for their content, including paid messages and “tips”. The remaining 20% goes to payment processing, hosting and other additional services. The prices paid by fans or followers can range from $4.99 to $49.99. Assuming that a single creator uploads content daily, the monthly amount can be really outrageous. That is because of the revenue from paid messages (up to $100) and tips (up to $200).

The American actress Bella Thorne,earned a million dollars in the first 24 hours after her debut on the platform and has more than one million followers. Currently there are 3.2 million creators from all over the world.

Perfil de Bella Thorne en OnlyFans

Bella Thorne profile in OnlyFans

If we had to summarize the most common practice in one sentence, it would be: erotic content in exchange for money. As we said, the platform was not initially focused on sex, but nowadays people who access it do so knowing that they are going to find this type of content. This is how it is.

Dilemmas about OnlyFans business

The OnlyFans phenomenon has given rise to a whole series of reactions from different media and individuals. There are voices that advocate the fact that not everyone sees the world in the same way, and that it is not entirely ethical to judge the decision of the creators of the platform. Some people think that it is a legitimate work, even if an economic gain is obtained with the commodification of the body.

This is a sensitive issue, and other voices have an opposing view on the subject. Some spanish media, such as El País, call it the “uberization of porn”. It also raises the question of whether the platform opens doors to sexual exploitation, especially for younger people who may see it as an easy way to earn money.

Mabel Lozano, spanish actress, film director and renowned activist for women’s rights, has an opinion about this social network. She explained in an interview that “Onlyfans is an English platform where you get more money the more sexual content you upload, and that material can be found, later, online, on Pornhub. Many videos of women are going to provoke sextortion.(…) Onlyfans perpetuates prostitution, inequality between men and women and the most absolute male chauvinism“.

In this article from Grazia, the writer explains their experience after opening an account on Onlyfans. They were motivated for the amount of people who started earn lots of money with the platform. They said that at the beginning, uploading content to Onlyfans felt “empowering“. However, just a few days after, they felt “vulnerable” because of the pressure from other users.

Be that as it may, we have a couple of questions that might make us think about the subject: Is it really a free decision to show one’s body in order to receive financial remuneration? And if the same income could be obtained in another way, would the creator also choose to make this type of content? And you, what do you think?


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