Is OnlyFans Safe?
Is OnlyFans Safe?
OnlyFans has been popular for years, but the content-sharing platform has been hitting a wider audience lately. Questions are swirling regarding user safety and OnlyFans’ platform. Are users safe? If there are safety concerns, what should users (and content creators) be concerned about? Are there ways to make OnlyFans safer?
In a nutshell, OnlyFans is not entirely safe. Buyer beware is the rule of thumb for this website, despite its widespread and growing use and the site’s assurances. OnlyFans is a victim of its own success, and those who use it have the increased risks associated with content creators and audiences who also want to push the boundaries.
OnlyFans first started providing content streaming where creators could earn money in 2016. Since then, it has grown to 130 million users and over 2 million creators, with steep user growth during the pandemic. Transactions on the platform were clocked at $2.36 billion annually.
In its shell form, OnlyFans provides multi-media artists a plug-and-play website where they can post their content, reach an audience and charge a fee for views. In its real-world iterations, OnlyFans has become the go-to site for adult entertainment and has created with changing the sex trade and pornography industries in lasting ways.
Recently, OnlyFans announced its bankers were forcing the site to forbid sexually explicit content. The backlash was immediate. Opposition to the content ban succeeded and the site owners reversed their decision, with assurances that content restrictions would not be imposed by third parties providing financing. However, this did not satisfy the many voices concerned about OnlyFans for a variety of reasons.
When deciding if it is safe to access OnlyFans, whether as a content publisher or content consumer, it might be useful to understand the reputation surrounding OnlyFans’ short history. Meteoric growth comes in a variety of sensibilities, and OnlyFans definitely has well-known reasons for being a reputational hot potato.
OnlyFans’ Greatest Safety Hazard
By peeling back the layers on the OnlyFans’ story, we find several concerning sub-plots regarding assessments of site safety. Even the reputation of the site owner (Timothy Stokely) causes pause for thought, as his history of lawsuits dogs OnlyFans’ recent attempts to appeal to a wider and more stable audience.
The biggest and most concerning safety sub-plot, however, is the history of content leaks and corporate denial. In early 2020, 1.6TB of OnlyFans’ content was discovered online in what was thought to be a hacker’s breach and data dump. However, later explanation from OnlyFans’ executives denied that the site’s security had been compromised and, instead, blamed the apparent breach on content consolidation following paid access to the content by OnlyFans’ legitimate site users.
This security issue causes many ripple-effect concerns:
- Are hackers able to get behind OnlyFans’ paywall to access content and, if so, what other information is vulnerable to a hacker and unauthorized distribution?
- If a content creator publishes on OnlyFans, are they certain they control (and are paid for) all viewings of their content, or is their content vulnerable to unauthorized, uncompensated distribution?
- If there was a security breach, as is so frighteningly common in our online consumer-based experience, would OnlyFans’ executive management admit the breach had occurred, and are there reliable safety measures in place on the site, even now?
We’ll look into user privacy concerns, which could be serious if hackers can access backend data from the site, but it seems clear that caution is the rule-of-thumb for using OnlyFans. There is so much smoke around this site; it’s hard to imagine there isn’t a big fire….but the specifics of the blaze aren’t well understood, for sure, and many are drawn to the flames nonetheless.
Anonymity and the User Experience
Anonymity is a driving factor for users choosing to access OnlyFans. Just knowing the content reputation of the site makes some people unwilling to have their login or IP information connected to the site’s name. Imagine something like the Panama Papers data dump, but with the names and email addresses of users who access content via OnlyFans….guilt by association is a big concern.
The big question, of course, is how anonymous can the user be if they decide that OnlyFans is where they want to browse for content? And, if someone wants to be a content creator posting on OnlyFans, how anonymous (or not) can the creator be?
OnlyFans offers some security features to users (and content creators), which should add layers of protection to site access. Two-factor authentication can add to login peace of mind, although cross-platform sign-in with Twitter leads to a concerning number of required access permissions. User privacy settings within the website can be individualized to maximize user anonymity. And, when signing up, wily users can avoid some identification processes by using a fresh email address and prepaid SIM card when setting up two-step authentication.
However, content creators are bound by the requirement to establish age through ID verification (OnlyFans is only available to users over 18 and content creators are required to provide proof of identity). In addition, any user purchasing access must provide information to OnlyFans’ third-party payment processing service, Stripe. In a similar way, payment for content views is processed through traditional banking methods and the site does not accommodate the anonymity of, say, cryptocurrency payments.
In the event of hacking success, stored data is present, and there is certainly a vulnerability risk for both site user and content creator.
Tracing Online Access to Origin
It can’t be overstated how those accessing OnlyFans might have good reason to want to remain anonymous, and this concern extends to routes of online access and their traceability. If login and payment processing information concerns aren’t significant enough to deter someone from accessing the site, what about IP tracing and evidence of past site access details?
Fortunately, this type of site access safety concern is more easily addressed than the login and hacker vulnerability concerns outlined above. Covering one’s tracks and eliminating direct connections between a personal computer and OnlyFans’ site is relatively easy to accomplish, although quality solutions aren’t without costs.
By purchasing a VPN (Virtual Private Network), those accessing the site will know that their VPN provider is encrypting access evidence and that their activity is not traceable. By routing the internet connection through servers around the world, VPNs change the IP address during the routing process, and activity between origin and destination can’t be correlated. This provides surfing anonymity for users and content creators, as long as their internet session moves through a VPN platform.
There are many VPN choices on the market, and accurate, up-to-date reviews of the top contenders can be found at PinpointVPN. If you’re looking for the assurance of a no-log policy with 3rd party verification, NordVPN is an excellent choice. In the VPN market, you’ll find several options for payment anonymity, notably with NordVPN and ExpressVPN, both of which accept cryptocurrency for subscription payments.
Phishing, Spyware and Malware
What about the wide variety of risks that lurk during online access? How does OnlyFans suffer additional vulnerabilities from these concerns, and what can website users do to mitigate risks?
Using a VPN access point is always the superior choice to eliminate risk from phishing, spyware and malware concerns. Of course, good quality firewall protection through built-in or third-party security software can also provide excellent virus and data harvesting protection from online predators.
Fortunately, OnlyFans does not have a reputation for malware and other outbound harm concerns.
Protecting Content and Under-Aged Safety
If we are talking about the safety of the content participants and actors, there are some practical suggestions that can be incorporated in the creation process in order to protect those involved. Making sure that footage is shot without showing faces, as well as making sure backgrounds and settings are unidentifiable, can relieve concerns over later identification and negative consequences. It’s a relief to know that the platform itself embeds watermarks and prevents screenshots, so there are in-house solutions mitigating unauthorized use of content.
We would be remiss not to mention the implications of a website offering content at arm’s length under conditions of almost total anonymity. What about child exploitation? There have been serious concerns raised regarding the ability of minors to access the OnlyFans platform, particularly for content creation of a sexually-explicit nature. These concerns are real and regional law enforcement has become aware of abusive situations and, in cooperation with OnlyFans, has dealt with them. Parents need to know that there are severe concerns regarding OnlyFans’ ability to properly verify and monitor against website access by minors.