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Onlyfans: the advancing nude

Is pornography the last frontier of social media? Let’s find out how the platform that is establishing itself in the Anglo-Saxon world is born and developed. Winking at the English tabloids

By Gierreuno

Onlyfans is a platform that is having a great success in the Anglo-Saxon countries and is making a lot of discussion, fueling the debate on what are the limits that must be imposed on social networks. The typology is similar to that of Instagram. It spreads pictures and movies, especially. With a substantial difference compared to Instagram or Facebook: the user, pays to see.

Onlyfans was born in London in 2016 with a precise purpose, a noble purpose if we want to: remunerate content creators. Me, actor, singer, artist, chef, fitness guru, character in short, I open a profile on Onlyfans where I post photos, movies, writings, lessons, even personalized material. You, who are a fan of mine, subscribe to the platform, pay a variable amount and not less than $10 a month, and you can enjoy my production.

So far so simple, easy, licit; except that, within a short time, Onlyfans has taken a drift that borders on porn, becoming a sort of red-light site where anyone who wants to exhibit their nudity is free to do so, as it is free to access the huge amount of users eager to develop their voyeuristic side. The characters of the star-system, in short, were soon joined by stars and stars of the porn universe. This led to an exponential growth of the platform that reached in mid-2020, at the height of the coronavirus lockdown, the figure of 30 million users compared to about 450 thousand content creators. A real boom, certainly not comparable to Tik Tok that in 4 years has captured 500 million members; a phenomenon, however, capable of generating a turnover that reaches the billion dollars.

“In fact, Onlyfans indicates where the new porn frontier has gone - says Andrea Pettinari, 34, television author and attentive observer of the phenomena that develop on the network - It is interesting to underline how the platform has become the object of attention and source of remuneration also of subjects that do not convey pornographic contents, but to that world they wink, exploiting the transgressive charge that emanates”.

Indicative, in this regard, is the case of Bella Thorne, former face of Disney Channel, who, just landed on the platform, asking 20 dollars a month to its subscribers, reached within a week the figure of 2 million dollars and broke every record. Without having to undress too much.

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text me I’m bored^^^

Un post condiviso da BELLA (@bellathorne) in data:

The cultural model of reference of Onlyfans is that of the English tabloids, - emphasizes Edoardo Fleischner, professor of crossmedial Writing and Digital Communication at the faculty of Sociology of the State University of Milan - English tabloids remain the best-selling paper newspapers in the world and are an absolutely unique phenomenon. Every day they focus on the British star-system and publish news and images that refer to this community of a thousand people. And the images, as we know, beat frequently on the various shades of the nude”.

Nudity, the professor says, is a determining factor in the relationship between the character and his fan. “The actor, the singer, the star of the show, wants to get naked in front of his follower - says Fleischner - He needs to undress to give himself completely. Of course I’m talking about a metaphorical nude, not necessarily physical. Nude is the hallmark of the English tabloid. And Onlyfans drew on that source.

There remains a big knot to be solved: why did Onlyfans substantially fail what was its starting goal? Why is it so difficult on the Internet to pay for content other than porn and thus protect copyright?

“It is no longer difficult - emphasizes Professor Fleischner - it is simply more complex. In the last 30 years the Internet has demolished the traditional business model making the production chain “content creator-publisher-distributor-buyer” anachronistic. Today everyone has the opportunity to address a potential audience of 3 billion people. There is no longer a reference model. There are many models that continuously evolve. And every day you can develop a new one”.

Onlyfans is nothing more than one of these.



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