OnlyFans: Champions of Internet Regulation? Make it Make Sense

OnlyFans has faced its share of criticism from users and outsiders alike. When it was first launched in 2016, it was intended to be an artistic platform where people could create their own products and share directly with subscribers.

Enter: porno. Obviously, OF quickly became the place where people created their own products that were NSFW and sold to an eager horde of monthly subscribers who could pay to upgrade their experience. So when you’re looking at a headline that suggests that OnlyFans is championing a bill that could increase internet regulations, it’s a head-scratcher. Here’s what’s going on.

OnlyFans is trying to shake its porno roots. Yeah, they can say all they want that the platform isn’t supposed to be for NSFW creators and that they’re trying to grow up (or grow down?) away from their reputation and focus on a little more wholesome products. But the last time they tried that, the internet broke. People weren’t happy with OF turning on the creators who made the platform as successful as it is, and the company quickly reversed course. Instead of pushing sex workers off the platform, they upped their screening standards to make sure only 18+ users were creating and consuming content that’s NSFW. In order to become a content creator who bares all, you have to pass a “rigorous verification process, in which they are required to present nine forms of ID, including name, address, bank details, biometric scan, social media accounts and government ID.” Even users have to provide credit card details to verify their age. So that’s where that glorious attempt to turn up their noses at sex workers landed.

Fast forward to this year and lawmakers in the UK were trying to pass a bill that would regulate platforms like OnlyFans, Facebook and others, ostensibly to protect users.

Turns out, that bill was really fucking unpopular and it’s basically DOA. Facebook’s parent company Meta warned the bill “risks people’s private messages being constantly surveilled and censored,” and sex workers worry that the over-nannying will push them offline and end their ability to screen clients before they meet up with them.

However, OnlyFans is over the moon about this bill. OnlyFans’ chief operating and strategy officer Keily Blair says, “I wish it had happened faster. I think the government is doing a really great job in terms of bringing it in. I think it’s incredibly important. I think it’s necessary.” Pardon my french, but what the fuck?

I’ll break it down. Basically, OF says they believe that people should be as safe online as they are in person. And yes, that roar is probably the sound of women around the world laughing themselves silly at that concept. They feel that their standards are so high that everyone else should join them on the level.

“Blair hopes the Online Safety Bill, which imposes a ‘duty of care’ on social media platforms, will bring her rivals up to the same standard the company believes it upholds.” Blair said, “We want everyone to be as safe as we are. Anything that pushes people in that direction is a good thing for society,” and the fact that the bill has fizzled is a disappointment. “I’m disappointed because some people need a stick to make changes. Unfortunately, the law often is that stick.” According to Blair, “People often say things and do things on the internet that they would only do behind a keyboard. People feel emboldened to behave in certain ways sometimes. It’s right to have the same protection online as you do walking down the street.”

Blair, this is me behind a keyboard – you are FULL PORNO.