Last Thursday, it emerged that users of the popular site OnlyFans, had hundreds of their creator photos and videos leaked and shared on databases across the internet.
OnlyFans is a subscription service, where ‘fans’ pay to view performers content. From porn stars and students to Instagram influencers, thousands have flocked to the site, seeing it as a safe place to sell pornographic content and create a supplementary income. OnlyFans has changed the profile of sex work by putting control in the hands of its creators, an aspect that is greatly challenged by this leak.
Creators are understandably angry, as their content privacy has been severely comprised. Should OnlyFans be doing more to protect its users? People have previously criticised the lack of technology for preventing screen recording on the site. Performers work hard to curate their pages, and pay a 20% commission to the website; surely, they deserve to be protected from users attempting to steal and disseminate paywall content?
Many creators rely upon OnlyFans as a steady income; since fans are expected to pay to access content, many performers fear this leak will reduce the number of subscribers. The leak signifies a significant loss of control for sex workers on OnlyFans, as links to storage sites of their content are now available online. Free access to these links is comprising self-employed workers’ ability to make a living.
Internet trolls are now victim-blaming OnlyFans performers. They argue that creators should not post images if they are worried about them being shared. Unfortunately, users believed their content was safe on OnlyFans; safe on a platform where they had control of it. These private images and videos have been shared without consent. Creators have been left violated and vulnerable.