Ofcom Investigates OnlyFans Over Concerns of Underage Access to Pornography

Ofcom investigates OnlyFans over concerns about inadequate age verification measures to protect minors from accessing adult content on the platform.

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Ofcom Investigates OnlyFans Over Concerns of Underage Access to Pornography

Ofcom Investigates OnlyFans Over Concerns of Underage Access to Pornography

Ofcom, the UK media regulator, has launched an investigation into OnlyFans, a subscription-based platform known for hosting adult content, over concerns that it may not be doing enough to prevent children from accessing pornographic material on its site. The investigation comes amid suspicions that OnlyFans did not implement its age verification measures effectively to sufficiently protect minors from such content.

Under existing regulations, video-sharing platforms (VSPs) established in the UK are required to take appropriate measures to prevent under-18s from accessing pornographic material. OnlyFans, as a UK-based site that hosts adult content, has introduced age verification measures in response to this VSP regulation. However, Ofcom has grounds to suspect that OnlyFans did not implement these measures in a way that adequately safeguards children from accessing inappropriate content.

Why this matters: The investigation into OnlyFans highlights the ongoing challenge of protecting minors from accessing adult content online, particularly on platforms that host user-generated content. The outcome of this investigation could have implications for how age verification measures are implemented and enforced on similar platforms in the future.

Ofcom is also investigating whether OnlyFans failed to comply with its duties to provide complete and accurate information in response to the regulator's formal information requests. OnlyFans acknowledged a coding configuration issue with its age assurance provider Yoti, which led to a reporting error. The company stated that it has proactively amended the report to Ofcom.

The investigation comes as Ofcom prepares to take on new powers under the Online Safety Act. The regulator will continue to assess age assurance measures on adult video-sharing platforms until the VSP regime is repealed, and will provide updates once the date of repeal has been confirmed by the government. Ofcom said it will provide an update on the investigation in due course.

In a statement, OnlyFans said, "We have amended the report to Ofcom to address the coding configuration concern and will continue to work closely with Ofcom to ensure we are fully compliant with our obligations as a service provider." The company emphasized its commitment to user safety and implementing robust age verification measures.

Key Takeaways

  • Ofcom investigating OnlyFans over concerns about protecting minors from adult content.
  • OnlyFans required to implement age verification measures, but Ofcom suspects these were not effective.
  • Investigation could impact how age verification is implemented and enforced on similar platforms.
  • OnlyFans acknowledged a coding issue that led to a reporting error, which it has corrected.
  • Outcome of investigation could have implications for Ofcom's new powers under the Online Safety Act.