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Is OnlyFans illegal? Where is OnlyFans Permitted, and What Legal Concerns are there about the Platform?

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Many people worry about whether running an OnlyFans account is legal – after all, sex workers and the laws around sexually explicit content are often unclear. So to help clear it up, we've created this guide to explain why OnlyFans is mostly legal, depending on where you are in the world, and to cover some related topics on the legal concerns of using OnlyFans.

Is OnlyFans Legal?

OnlyFans is legal in most countries. Only a few countries ban sexually explicit content, preventing people from using the website. Even though sex workers tend to face strict rules in a number of countries, OnlyFans creators abide by some less harsh rules in the majority of countries around the world.

Where is OnlyFans Banned?

Countries that have banned OnlyFans include Dubai, Turkey, Russia and Belarus. In some countries using OnlyFans as a content creator is banned, but you can access the website.

India is one of those – the website itself is permitted but legislation bans content creators from adding their own sexual content to the website.

Russia's an interesting one too – OnlyFans has been banned from the country since February 2023. The Russian government claims that the site's promotion of adult content is immoral, but OnlyFans disagrees – the company announced that the website wasn't available in Russia due to payment problems as a result of the Russia/Ukraine war.

OnlyFans don't tend to argue where the website is banned for allowing sexually explicit content and respects the laws publically. So it's more likely that the Russian government are lying in this case.

OnlyFans has apologized to content creators affected by the ban, who have lost out on their income due to the war.

Are Other Social Media Platforms Banned in Those Countries?

There is some inconsistency in the sites that are banned in some countries. For example, while OnlyFans content creators can't post to OF in Dubai, they can post to Instagram and TikTok.

The main difference is that those social media platforms don't allow obscene material, even though you'll often find very risque content on the platforms. In theory, content creators could still promote their websites on social media, if they can find a way to get around the country's ban on OnlyFans (more on that later).

Each country has different rules on which sites are banned. Russia bans Facebook and Instagram but for political reasons, for example.

However, OnlyFans and sites like it are treated more harshly by legislators because they don't just offer suggestive content, but outright sexual content that is often explicit.

What other Legal Issues exist around OnlyFans?

No matter where you live in the world, there are some laws in place as to what you can and can't post on OnlyFans. Some of these are OnlyFans rules, while others are set by the country.

Illegal Content

There is a lot of content that is automatically banned on OnlyFans. This applies everywhere, and if you were to try and break these rules, you would be banned from the platform altogether. This includes subjects such as:

  • Child sexual abuse material
  • Violent content
  • Content that involves drugs
  • Content from professional sex workers promoting in-person services
  • Illegal subjects such as bestiality, necrophilia, and incest
  • Content involving urine or excrement
  • Content featuring self-harm or topics around suicide
  • Anything featuring firearms, no matter their legality in the state or country where the creator is based

Underage Users

While the biggest concern from an age perspective will always be in preventing underage content creators from setting up on the website, there's also the issue of underage users. OnlyFans has strict verification methods in place for content creators, but not so much for underage people who want to visit the site to browse content.

But the laws on accessing nude photographs and videos as a minor are relatively lax in most countries anyway. There is talk in some Western countries of requiring age verification for access to sexual content, but there isn't a huge amount of drive to put these laws into place since they can often be easily circumvented.

Deepfake Content

A lot of the OnlyFans legal concerns in the modern world relate to contemporary issues, including the use of AI to make deepfake content. There are serious legal and ethical concerns around such content, where real people are imposed onto existing porn stars in a realistic manner.

The legalities of deepfake content are vague, although anything which could be considered defamatory would likely cause the creator to be found guilty of breaking several laws. And as AI becomes more prolific and it becomes easier to fake images and videos, expect to see this topic be the subject of increased campaigning against sites like OnlyFans.

Revenge Porn

Revenge porn is a very serious topic, and unfortunately, there is likely to be the occasional OnlyFans creator using the platform for that purpose. They'll use OnlyFans to post up pornographic content of their partner/ex/someone they know as an act of recent, and potentially even make money from it.

Revenge content is against the OnlyFans terms, and if someone was to complain about their own imagery being posted online, OnlyFans would ban the creators responsible. However, there needs to be more robust methods in place to prevent it from being posted at all.

Content Theft

Another issue that many content creators face on OnlyFans is the theft of their content. People subscribe to a creator to see the content posted, screenshot it, and then upload it elsewhere to earn money themselves.

This one is more a legal issue that concerns OnlyFans content creators than the platform itself, although OnlyFans' customer service teams will help affected creators to get the content taken down, where possible. Watermarking is possible, which allows creators to add a unique mark to all content on OnlyFans that makes it identifiable.

It doesn't stop the content from being stolen but it does make it easier to submit a request to the other website to get it taken down quickly.

Taxes

This one is more related to the OnlyFans platform than it is to creators – there have been many ongoing legal discussions around the taxes that the website has to pay. This has been shaped by the UK law, which battled to force OnlyFans to pay a sales tax on anything earned by creators – and not just the 20% commission that the platform itself earns.

This was then ratified in the higher courts of Europe, which means that the parent company of OnlyFans – Felix International – will have to pay more taxes in future.

Do Creators Abide by the Porn Ban in their Country?

So – we know that OnlyFans is legal in most countries but some still make OnlyFans illegal to access or use as a content creator.

But does that stop people? How hard is it to get around these rules?

Not very hard at all, really. All you need is a reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN) and you can very quickly circumvent the bans on OnlyFans. However, content creators aren't dumb – there's a very good chance that they won't advertize that they're from a banned country.

After all, if they get caught, they could get into serious trouble.

Punishments

The punishments for OnlyFans users in countries where the site is banned vary. There aren't a lot of published examples, but there is a tale of Titus Low, a content creator in Singapore. OnlyFans isn't banned in the country, but the transmission of obscene materials is illegal.

Low was fined $3,000 for sharing images considered obscene by the country, and he was jailed for three weeks – specifically for accessing his OnlyFans account after he'd already been given a police banning order.

So, the punishments can be very severe.

So, is OnlyFans Legal?

OnlyFans is legal, but not everywhere. Some countries still ban the website, and creators need to be careful not to break the law, since they could end up jailed and fined.

There are a lot of legal issues around OnlyFans, even where the site is legal, and both creators and users need to be careful not to break the rules when using the platform.