The worldwide lockdowns that were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic changed many aspects of our lives with lots of working practices being pushed online.
As a result, new technologies like Zoom boomed and have changed how many of us work forever.
But it is not just our working lives that changed forever but our social ones too. While established social media channels thrived, so too did many of the newer platforms that emerged shortly before or at the start of lockdown.
Tik Tok is now a household name and OnlyFans is not far behind it, thanks largely to the tabloid media coverage it has enjoyed.
But what is OnlyFans and is it safe to use? In this ultimate guide, we will answer all your questions.
What is OnlyFans?
OnlyFans is a subscriber-based social media platform where users can pay a subscription to follow their favorite creators and access exclusive content, essentially allowing the customers to purchase content.
Purchasing content is possible with debit card or credit card, but keep in mind that you also pay with your data.
For their part, content creators can receive subscriptions from users, either as a one-off payment or as a monthly subscription.
Money can also be raised through tips, PPV messages, and product promotion. Content creators get to keep 80% of the funds they generate. OnlyFans keeps the remaining 20%.
It was launched back in 2016, but it was the global lockdowns which stopped a lot of artists from making money through their usual channels that saw a growing number of influencers and performers turn to OnlyFans as a way to generate income. Many fans follow.
4 Reasons why OnlyFans is not safe to use
It is fair to say that OnlyFans has courted more than its fair share of controversy during its short lifespan and especially during the lockdown years, which is something that we can't turn a blind eye to.
But is it safe for users and content creators to use?
Let's begin by looking at the three biggest reasons why it might not be:
1. Inappropriate content
OnlyFans has lots of different types of content on the platform. It is used by all sorts of content generators from chefs to PE instructors, from musicians to actors.
But there is no denying that the overwhelmingly most popular type of content on OnlyFans is explicit adult content and sex work.
Many of its content creators are porn stars, prostitutes, and people who are willing to sell sexualized images or videos to subscribers.
Inevitably, this means that OnlyFans hosts a lot of adult content that is totally unsuitable for younger users and also adults who might be offended by such content.
2. Child Sexual Abuse content
There have been some instances of child sexual abuse content being found on the site and also of underage children creating sexually explicit content on the platform.
“It is increasingly clear that OnlyFans is being used by children,” Chief Constable Simon Bailey, who is the UK's child protection lead told the BBC.
“The company is not doing enough to put in place the safeguards that prevent children exploiting the opportunity to generate money, but also for children to be exploited.”
However, it should be noted that there are protections in place to stop the sort of content getting onto the platform (about which you will find more below) and observers have said the amount of child sexual content on OnlyFans is negligible when compared to sites like Facebook.
3. Security and Privacy risks
It is very difficult to use OnlyFans anonymously, whether you are a content creator or a regular user.
Posting explicit content online is dangerous and once it is up there, it is very difficult to remove it. There is also nothing you can do to stop it being reshaped and to prevent it being viewed by people who you might not want to see it.
OnlyFans also requires users to share credit card information with the site, which along with all other personal information you share could be compromised and reveal that you are using the site.
The site also does not have the best track record for sticking up for user privacy either.
In March 2020, one of the biggest data breaches that took place included data from OnlyFans.
Some has ended up on porn sites without users' knowledge.
Most worrying about the March 2020 breach was that OnlyFans denied its systems had been compromised and claimed a user had lifted the content from the platform, something that seems highly unlikely given the amount of data stolen.
Even if this was true, it would be troubling and it also begs a number of, so far unanswered questions about how OnlyFans protects users credit card info and bank account details and other sensitive data.
All in all, as a site with such sensitive, private content, OnlyFans could use some extra security measures that would protect users from data leaks and help them remain anonymous.
4. Spam and scams
Like any online platform that becomes popular, OnlyFans is being targeted by scammers. They can set up accounts and then send you links to different things with very little done to stop them.
These links can end up harvesting your personal information or even installing malware and other unpleasant software onto your device.
Equally, a big problem for a lot of OnlyFans users is the constant stream of spam messages from OnlyFans creators they follow, either promoting new content or recommending others on the platform.
3 Reasons why OnlyFans is safe to use
To offset these major concerns, are there any arguments as to why OnlyFans is safe for people to use?
1. Security tools
Firstly, OnlyFans allows users to secure their accounts with a variety of different security tools and options.
Two Factor authentication is available to help keep your Onlyfans account secure. It is possible to block individual users and also block users based on IP Address or their own country of origin.
So, if you are a British OnlyFans creator, you can take steps to ensure your content cannot be viewed by others in the UK.
There is no requirement on OnlyFans to use your real name, email address or anything that could be traced back to you publicly.
You can therefore have what is, on the face of it, a completely anonymous OnlyFans account.
However, while the public can't figure out who you are, OnlyFans itself will always have enough details on file, through either credit card details or other personal information to be able to identify you.
And of course, it is always possible that information could become public.
3. Credit Card protections
OnlyFans does not log details of the credit card and debit card used by OnlyFans users directly.
All payments done by credit card are processed by a third-party provider and the website uses 3D secure authentication, which secures your account and helps to prevent fraud.
While there are lots of legitimate criticisms of OnlyFans for the content it hosts and other aspects of the service, it has to be said that the security around their payment details and credit card information is as secure as it could conceivably be.
How to stay safe on OnlyFans
Provided you are comfortable with the generally adult nature of the website, Only Fans is fine for most people to use.
But there are several things that both content creators and users can do to make OnlyFans as safe as it can be. Here is a rundown of the main steps that you can take:
1. Don't reveal personal information
If you are an OnlyFans creator, always take steps to ensure that no personal information is revealed in your content.
If you are featuring yourself in your content, make sure that your face is not visible and that any identifiable bodily features are hidden. Your priority should always be to keep your identity private.
A good rule of thumb is that unless you would be happy for your grandmother to watch it, make sure she can't tell that it's you.
This extends to the background of your videos too. Make sure that there is nothing that could identify where you are recording the videos. A plain or generic background is always best for anonymous videos.
Be sure to remove metadata from any files that you post too. This can reveal a lot about you, including your actual location.
2. Manage OnlyFans privacy settings
Every extra layer of security on your account matters. Whether it is about protecting your credit card, debit card, other payment information, social media details, or your entire identity, you need to take it seriously.
OnlyFans contains a number of specific privacy options for its accounts, which allow you to control what other users can and cannot see.
For content creators especially, it is vital that you make full use of these and hide the info you don't want to be seen from both users and other creators.
They can be accessed via the settings menu and we strongly recommend that you spend some time exploring this area of the website and making sure that everything is how you want it.
Ideally, you would do this before you begin posting content.
Some of the privacy options that are available on OnlyFans include:
- Hiding your active status.
- Hiding the amount of tips you have received.
- Ensuring that no one has access to your friends list.
- Hiding your media count (This is advisable unless the numbers are high and you want to use this to market your account).
3. Set up an anonymous account
Whether you are a user or a content creator, it is always a good idea to set up an OnlyFans profile that is anonymous.
This means using an anonymous account name and details in your account setup. But it is also a good idea to use an email address for registration that cannot be traced back to you.
ProtonMail is a good bet for this as it is a lot more secure and private than other webmail services like GoogleMail.
You will still need to provide credit card details, so complete anonymity is impossible.
If you are a content creator, it is harder still. You will need to provide a lot more personal information than if you just want to watch.
For example, you will have to share your legal name and provide various forms of identification as well as a selfie of you holding the documents.
You will also need to provide your actual bank account details for OnlyFans to be able to pay you.
We would strongly advise you to never set up OnlyFans accounts linked with other platforms and social media accounts such as Twitter account, Facebook, or Google.
When you do this, OnlyFans asks for an astonishing array of permissions. An example is using Twitter when it asks to:
- See Tweets from your timeline (including protected Tweets) as well as your Lists and collections.
- See your Twitter profile information and account settings.
- See accounts you follow, mute, and block.
- Follow and unfollow accounts for you.
- Update your public profile and account settings.
- Post and delete Tweets for you, and engage with Tweets posted by others (Like, un-Like, or reply to a Tweet, Retweet, etc.) for you.
- Create, manage, and delete Lists and collections for you.
- Mute, block, and report accounts for you.
- See your email address.
Quite why it needs such permissions is beyond us, but we know that it is inadvisable to grant OnlyFans or any other website such widespread control over another account. Don't do it.
4. Use strong passwords
Always ensure that your OnlyFans account is protected with a strong password.
This should be a combination of letters (both lower case and upper case), numbers, and symbols or three unrelated words combined together.
Ensure that your OnlyFans password is different from those you use with other accounts. Every password you have should be unique.
If you are worried about remembering your passwords, use a password manager such as LastPass to store all your passwords securely and help you to remember them when you need to log in.
5. Use Two Factor authentication
Two step authentication is a great tool for keeping your OnlyFans account secure and helping to prevent it from being hacked.
It is quite simple to set up two factor authentication on OnlyFans.
Just follow these quick steps:
- Log into your OnlyFans account.
- Go to the Settings menu.
- Click on Account.
- Click on Two step verification code.
- Set up two-factor authentication on OnlyFans. You can choose to do this either by connecting on an authenticator app or via SMS code.
Either way, all you have to do is follow the simple onscreen guidance to get things set up and secure.
As a result, whenever you try to log into your account from an unknown device, you will have to verify your identity. While this can be bothersome, the same is true for potential hackers, who won't be able to verify and prove that they are you.
6. Use a VPN
It is a good idea to use a VPN at all times when logged into OnlyFans, especially if you want to keep your activity on the platform to yourself.
A VPN will ensure that when you are using OnlyFans, your internet connection is always encrypted and secure. It can also help to hide your real IP Address from both the OnlyFans platform and others who may be looking to find out what it is.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN to use with OnlyFans thanks to its superb combination of strong encryption, flexible and user-friendly apps, and fast connection speeds.
7. Don't be shy about blocking users
If you have problems with another OnlyFans user, don't be shy about using the OnlyFans tools to block that user or even report them to the OnlyFans support team.
There is no need to put up with any cyberbullying, abuse, or other unpleasant activity on this site or any other.
If someone steps out of line, block them. If lots of people do, block them all! Let the system and the site's support team do their job.
8. Think about content
If you are a content creator on OnlyFans, think about the content you are putting up there.
We are not just talking about personal details here. But you will have to live with your decisions for the rest of your life.
Content on the internet stays there forever. Be sure that you are comfortable with what you are posting and aware that it will stay online permanently.
The last thing anyone wants is a foolish decision made in the past to have a detrimental impact on their personal or professional life in the future. Be sure to think about that now.
Can you be tracked on OnlyFans?
If you follow all of the advice in this guide, the chances of other users or creators being able to track you through your content on OnlyFans is minimal. But it is certainly not impossible and one wrong move could easily expose your OnlyFans activity.
If someone with the technical know-how wants to expose you for using OnlyFans, the chances are that at some point they will find a way to do so. This is why it is generally said that if you don't want to be exposed for using OnlyFans, the only guaranteed way to avoid this is not to use it.
Even if you don't make a mistake, OnlyFans still logs a lot of information about content creators, and its track record for protecting this data is far from 100%, so someone could get access to it sooner or later.
The recommendations in this guide will help a lot. But ultimately, there is no guarantee that your OnlyFans content will not come back to haunt you.
In answer to the question, is OnlyFans safe? The simple answer has to be yes, provided you take precautions.
It is not entirely safe unless you do your part to make it safe and add more security.
By making your account as anonymous and secure as possible, you can minimise the risk of anyone identifying you from your OnlyFans content. Users can also help to ensure that the content they are watching stays private too.
OnlyFans also contains a lot of adult content, which is not suitable for a lot of users, especially younger ones. All OnlyFans customers should be aware of this and go into using this site with their eyes open.