Social media has an unprecedented impact on the mankind. People are making fortunes using YouTube and creating viral content on Instagram. They can amass a massive following on Twitter and influence their followers' decisions. And now there's OnlyFans- which is a wee bit controversial and a little more up close and personal. However, with the ongoing controversy regarding the arrest of Gehana Vasisth, is India really ready for Onlyfans?
Gehana Vasisth, an Indian actress was recently arrested for allegedly shooting and uploading pornographic videos on her website. As per Section 67 of the IT Act 2000, publication and transmission of sexually explicit content is illegal and considered to be an offence. While India is seeing an influx of adult content with new adult applications making a debut with each passing day, instances such as this are actually reflective of India’s current legal standpoint regarding adult content. In this light, the bigger question is – is India ready for OnlyFans?
OnlyFans is a content platform that allows sign-ups from India. People can make as much as $20,000 to $1million. Indian content creators can sign up from anywhere to join the platform.
Sherlyn Chopra is the first Indian actress-model who joined the adult entertainment platform. She already reached the top 1% of the content creators and gained a rapid fan-following. Indian porn stars can find refuge in OnlyFans to share their content as there are no strict regulations on the platform. Looks like OnlyFans might be the respite after all.
OnlyFans - Literally a Multi-purpose Platform
Onlyfans is one of a kind content-sharing platforms to earn money by offering insights into one’s intimate life. It lets creators upload any form of content- even porn, and lock it behind a paywall. Onlyfans has been around from 2016 but has soared in its popularity even more, specially during COVID-19. India has joined the list as well, with some of the celebrities and pornstars joining the bandwagon.
It is widely used by sex workers, influencers, and celebrities. It was founded by the British tech entrepreneur and investor, Timothy Stokley. It has now become a multi-billion dollar company on the rise.
Content creators on OnlyFans can offer pictures, videos, and chat one-to-one for a price. This platform has completely changed the entertainment and sex industry. It was practically built for sex workers, but users now can share any kind of content. It currently has around 30 million users and 450,000 creators.
The site is credited with empowering sex workers and giving them a platform where there is no stigma around it.
When OnlyFans was founded, it was designed to be a subscription service for workout videos, music, dance, but it quickly took a turn. The platform set out to satisfy the need for sex workers and consumers of sexual content. Breaking the news in every country, the site provides a space for creators to create content in every niche and receive big tips.
COVID Pandemic Boosted OnlyFans
The pandemic saw a 75% increase in sign-ups on the site mostly clout-chasers. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc, and people are hopping onto the site to earn a little extra income. The creators generate revenue every month and pay-per-view.
Creator Black Chyna charges fans $50 a month to access the page. Rubi Rose made $100,000 just by posting photos from her Instagram. Bella Thorne broke the site by making $2 million in only one week.
Pay-per-view messages or PPV is the content the creators send to the fans, but the fans have to pay to read it. They attach a picture or video along with the price tag to be viewed. We will see whenever the creators are online as it shows, ‘available now’.
Is OnlyFans known as OnlyCelebrities?
Actress Bella Thorne charges $20 a month and all her posts are locked behind a paywall. She also links her Amazon wish-list where the fans can purchase items for her, but it doesn’t guarantee access to view her content.
Bella ransacked the site with the number of earnings, so they implemented transaction limits that capped PPV pricing to $50 per post and $100 per trip. They changed the pay-out schedule from weekly to every 21 days.
Celebrities can use the site to monetise their influence, allowing fans to access monthly fees or one-off tips. Creators can allow a monthly subscription between $4.99- $49.99 each month in which OnlyFans retains a 20% fee. They can have a free page as well as a subscription page to optimise their earnings.
The Apple Store doesn’t condone OnlyFans because they find it to be ‘overtly sexual content.’
But here is thing.
OnlyFans creators do not only post pornographic material, but they can assign themselves doing several things. There are artists, fitness instructors, chefs, and other creators who use the site to monetise their content. OnlyFans quickly became a site for sex workers and models to share NSFW content.
The creators can post pictures, videos as well as host live-streams to engage with their followers. The lives can help increase user engagement, optimise their earnings and viewership. The site gives the creators the freedom to post any type of content; some of the content they post could ban them from other social media sites like Instagram or Facebook.
Some popular influencers like e-girl, Belle Delphine can charge her fans a membership of $35 a month to access her adult content. The purpose of OnlyFans is for creators to post content, build a following and monetise their influence. The sex workers have established their presence on the site. They can earn decent money by posting content consistently till they can make a profit from it.
Red Flags for Sex Workers
The song ‘Savage’ by Megan Thee Stallion and Beyonce mentioned OnlyFans in the lyrics, and this was when the site gained a 15% jump in viewership. The song went viral, and more creators joined the site. This opened up more avenues for the creators to earn money.
But the sex workers weren’t happy about it. Influencers and celebrities would soon monetise the platform they built and relied on. Cardi B, Tana Mongeau, and Blac Chyna set up their accounts and drew attention by posting exclusive content. Their massive click-bait cheeky pictures received enormous fan-following. There was a noticeable cost each time a celebrity joined the site.
The site is like bread and butter for sex workers and their hard work to earn a spot works up to nothing if stars enter this space. After influencers have joined this space, there is less engagement for no discernible reason on their pages, which led them to worry about earning an income.
Bella Thorne and OnlyFans Limelight
Disney star Bella Thorne announced she would be selling her nudes for $200. Around 50,000 people subscribed to her page, and she ended up making more than $2M a week. Sex workers were upset about how an established celebrity is using the space they pay rent from. Bella Thorne ended up not delivering what the subscribers paid for, which led to refund requests.
The rules were changed because of this incident and affected the sex workers immensely. A cap on the number of tips reduced from $200 to $50, which is a massive loss for sex workers. Company implemented the policy changes by keeping the users in mind. Onlyfans haven’t based it just on this incident, Bella apologised on Twitter by mentioning how she wanted to normalise the stigma around sex and sex workers.
The rising popularity of OnlyFans helped bring sex work to the mainstream and de-stigmatise it. OnlyFans has opened up more avenues for creators to use this platform to grow a following. Here is the beauty of the site- there is no discrimination based on sexual identity, and every person in the spectrum can use this platform. With advent of OnlyFans in India, never-heard-before desi pornstars from the LGBTQIAA community are also coming forth in posting their content. Today, Charan Bangaram and Beast are some of the top adult artists from India on OnlyFans and people are willing to pay for real people, unlike porn. This is certainly a step towards, perhaps doing away with the stigma around sex, sex-work, pornography and respecting the artists for who they are.