Operation OnlyFans: ‘Influencers’ Manipulate to Monetize Personalized Porn

in·flu·ence
the ability to have an effect on the psychology, maturation, or actions of individuals.

Charisma, charm, attraction; these among other alluring qualities make many content creators fascinating to watch. Most of them knowingly possess this appeal and this on-camera chemistry is what has drawn them to the medium. Successful channels curate content around unique subject matters and many can be considered authorities in niche topics. From artists to gamers and dancers to singers, social media is filled with videos, both prerecorded and live, with a closer look into the different worlds of mixed genres. What happens when these trusted resources undermine the very fabric of online communities to garner financial gain? Much like the game of life, some win, some lose.

Social Media Platforms are the New Reality Television

For the last 20+ years, seemingly unknown people have become overnight stars through the broadcast of their life over Reality TV shows. The drama these shows produce is interesting, intense and sometimes immoral. According to Jim Taylor Ph.D., Reality TV, “promotes the worst values and qualities in people–and disguises them all as entertainment. Reality TV has made the Seven Deadly Sins–pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth-attributes to be admired.” He goes on to blame the destruction of these core human values on popular culture since it is amoral.

“Reality” shows are still in full swing; however, more watchers have begun to pick up on the amount of scripted content that are in these productions. While viewers have adjusted their expectations of how real it is not, they continue to watch but ratings aren’t what they once were. That’s where social media come in to fill the void of these once-beloved shows.

While most of the major social media platforms began as picture-based posts for content, videos have taken over and a test created by Biteable shows the effectiveness of videos versus photos on Facebook Ads. Now nearly all sites have a live feature, giving streamers a way to deliver on-demand content to fans, followers, supporters, trolls, creepers, perverts, bullies and even haters. Since platform algorithms appreciate viewers, comments and reactions, mostly any user is welcome, no matter their intention.

From Creators to Influencer

Sharing one’s life on a day-to-day basis isn’t the endgame for many of these channels. Creators are looking to adapt their on-camera skills to become a social media “Influencer” or what was considered in the past, a spokesman for products and services. These subtle advertisements are tricky to pick up on as many videos have them integrated into their content; think product placement. Tracking of YouTube data through Influencer MarketingHub found these types of built-in ads generate over $30,000/year per influencer, as some of the top brand spenders have shelled out upwards of $60 Million Dollars annually.

From Influencer to Entrepreneur

Ad revenue isn’t the only form of income for creators. Donations, tips and subscriptions are now promoted as a way to support individual channels. It’s not uncommon to see creators sharing their highest monetary contributors. On-screen banner announcements like; “Top 3 Donators”, “Tippers of the Week” or similar titles accompanied by user name and dollar amount, can be seen to entice even more contributions. This is where financial freedom through content creation becomes distinguished as the objective, with a history of quality content to back up the channel’s disguised purpose.

in·flu·ence
noun
the ability to have an effect on the psychology, maturation, or actions of individuals.

A Crossover into “Reality”

Below is a synopsis of a current channel. Names, gender, age and location have been removed to allow anonymity. 

She/he/they is currently down on their luck. Recently separated from their partner, they need a place to stay. Instead of reaching out to friends or family for help, they decide that living in their vehicle may bring an escape from the situation and also an adventure. Traveling the open road and bouncing around from state to state, they are attempting to find themselves once again. This alone time is great for reflecting on past experiences and how to grow from them in the future.

In this above scenario would you guess that it was a:

A: Made for TV Movie
B: Written Memoir of a Movie Star
C: Friend’s Story as they are Reaching out for Help
D: Marketing Tactic

If you guessed answer D, then you have started to pick up on what is a growing trend on many social media platforms. On the surface, this sounds like a feel-good story about someone who is overcoming a difficult time in their life. However, this isn’t always the case and this “feel-good story” is mostly, if not a completely fabricated scheme to generate content, obtain followers, and gain more exposure. This type of content is easy for users to get invested emotionally and as the story grows, so does the fan base. There are many different versions of this type of story and the ability to pick up on the validity of the situation becomes more difficult as the evolution of this branding and marketing process continues.

Bridging Fantasy and Reality

This lucrative path to income brings to light why someone would “quit their job”, “dump their partner” and start a journey to marketing their channel. Although, not all creators are so cunning to develop such an elaborate story and make their intentions much more obvious.

The other side of creators have no desire to create informational or more robust channels. They are posting and going live for one reason, a quick buck. How do they incentivize content without the ability of ad revenue? This is where content turns into sex work. An overwhelming amount of creators are pushing the envelope and bending the rules of social sites like TikTok and Twitch. Uploading videos of themselves in revealing clothing and utilizing seductive sequences, this R-rated type content is aimed at arousing users while promoting their X-rated channels. These creators have taken their “talents” to OnlyFans, an open platform where adult entertainers and sex workers succeed.

What is OnlyFans?

Developed in 2016, OnlyFans is a subscription-based or pay-per-view platform for online personalities to share private, generally adult-natured content. Users can find a variety of creators, many of whom have struck popularity through social media platforms such as; Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, and other “influencer” hyped outlets. Even some mainstream television and radio personalities have pushed its adult-only content to OnlyFans, generating revenue for once censored media.

Niche Yet Profitable

Reports as of November 2020 show that OnlyFans has paid out over $2 Billion dollars in service revenue to its content creators. A number that has skyrocketed since staying at home became the new norm and people have looked for new forms of entertainment. This has led to over $300 million dollars in residual income for the company Fenix International Limited which boasts itself as a “technology company with a focus on staying ahead of the curve.” Without question, OnlyFans has proved to find its place within the online pornography space.

Pornography with Added Cost

Much like online pornography, OnlyFans has a naturally compulsive element to it. Normally taboo subjects have performers tailored to these obsessions and the boundary from a casual watcher of porn to fulfilled fantasies is broken. OnlyFans allows personalized paid messaging where the creator can communicate directly to individuals. These chats add up quickly and can cost from $3-$100 per message. It’s here where the fantasy turns as close to reality and users can get emotionally, physically and financially invested. As the desire grows, so does the validation. With each service, the user becomes more attached to the interactions. This can develop into a compulsive behavior, creating havoc on the user’s personal and professional life.

Compulsive Content Turned Addictive Behavior

Compulsive behavior disorders affect those who are dealing with these issues in many different ways. Computer and mobile technology have opened up countless avenues to addictive behaviors that can become problematic due to their ease of access and sexualized subject matters. Prescott House has addressed the risks of hook-up and dating apps and the desensitization caused by pornography use. More recently live streaming of webcam performers became a niche to provide a new and exciting way for internet exhibitionists to interact with viewers, often times charging for specific acts or requests. It wasn’t long until this unique approach to porn became exploited and turned into an on-demand service. This lucrative evolution of sex work has now found its way into our daily feeds for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Recovery from Pornography and OnlyFans Obsession

Not only do these internet-based addictions place a strain on an addict’s mental health, the physical risks and financial ramifications are also sometimes impossible to overcome. Well documented is the science behind pornography addiction and its effects on relationships and intimacy. Many who are affected by this type of addiction are often found living a secret life to mask the truth behind this obsession. While the internet is constantly adapting to its users, recognizing these modern trends as gateways to sex or pornography addiction is important to counterbalance the creativity of addictive platforms. Prescott House provides 5 CSATS (Certified Sex Addiction Therapists) with daily sex addiction primary groups to help individuals dealing with the complex mental health issues around this addiction.

Call 866-425-4673 to learn more about our recovery programs.

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