Children as young as 13 years old are reportedly using fake IDs to sell explicit content on OnlyFans, allegedly "tricking" the adults-only site's age verification system.
The BBC reported that OnlyFans requires all applicants to "pose next to an ID card and then submit a photograph holding it up to their face." The age verification system in place, however, "failed to distinguished between [fakes] at any stage of the process."
What are the details?
According to the report, law enforcement officials and child protective services agents received reports of children as young as 13 saying that they were able to use the site to share explicit content of themselves.
The news agency found that children under the age of 18 were able to set up accounts using fake IDs or identification cards belonging to family members.
According to the Daily Mail, a 14-year-old girl was able to set up an account using her grandmother's passport and bank details, and a 17-year-old was able to sell videos of herself performing sex acts and using sex toys by using faked credentials.
"The teenager used a fake ID to set up her account and in one week received £5,000 [approximately $7,100] in payments from the site, prompting the bank to freeze her account," the Daily Mail reported. "There have also been reports of underage girls participating in videos on adult accounts in the U.S. which is against the company's terms and conditions."
The outlet also reported that children as young as 12 years old were "using the site to contact ... adult content creators and asking to meet up."
One child told the U.K.'s Childline, "I don't wanna talk about the types of pictures I post on there, and I know it's not appropriate for kids my age to be doing this, but it's an easy way to make money. Some of the girls have thousands of followers on Instagram and they must be raking it in — I wanna be just like them."
The BBC reported, "Schools have shared anonymous reports of pupils using the site, including a 16-year-old who boasted to her careers adviser about the amount of money she made on the site, and showed off her 'exuberant' spending on Instagram."
"Underage creators and users of the site include victims of prior sexual abuse and those with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts, according to Childline counsellor notes," the report said.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey — the U.K.'s national lead for child protection policing — said that it is "increasingly clear" that children are using the site.
"The company is not doing enough to put in place the safeguards that prevent children exploiting the opportunity to generate money, but also for children to be exploited," Bailey insisted.
Missing children linked to OnlyFans
The BBC also reports that missing kids are "increasingly being linked to OnlyFans videos," according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
"In 2019 there were around a dozen children known to be missing being linked with content on OnlyFans," NCMEC Vice President Staca Shehan told the outlet. "Last year the number of those cases nearly tripled."
The news organization added, "While much of the content on OnlyFans featuring children involves teenagers uploading their own content, NCMEC says it is also finding evidence of child sexual exploitation and trafficking."
OnlyFans speaks out
In a statement on the investigation, a spokesperson for OnlyFans said, "OnlyFans is a subscription based social media platform for all content creators with over 120 million users. As it is paid social media, users have to be over the age of 18 to access the site. We have a team that manually reviews every application."
A spokesperson added:
For creators, we have a team that manually reviews every application. Third-party vendors are used to verify the authenticity and integrity of the IDs and selfies uploaded. The results generated by the software are reviewed along with a manual check of the applicant's provided ID, selfie with ID photo, API verified home address, linked social media accounts, linked email addresses, GeoIP locations, and the information added by the applicant in their avatar, header and bio. If our multiple point system is satisfied, the team will onboard the creator. OnlyFans hosts over 1.25 million creators from a wide range of countries and creative genres. It is an inclusive and non-discriminatory platform that is home to fitness experts, chefs, celebrities, influencers and content creators from many other walks of life. Some creators choose to upload and exchange adult content with their fans. In fact, the platform has been commended in the media for empowering and giving control back to creators so that they can be paid for content that they make and decide to share. We take our duty of care extremely seriously. OnlyFans is committed to the safety and security of its users, and its Terms of Service being upheld. In the case of any serious contravention of these terms, the account is closed, and all active subscriptions are refunded to the original payee. We have a dedicated team within our compliance area that work globally with law enforcement in the event that reporting and escalation are required. We use systems and software that are not only compliant but go over and above current regulations. The platform's safety and security team has grown commensurately with the growth of OnlyFans and we are committed to continuing that investment. Cases in which individuals have willfully tried to breach the system are rare, but we closely monitor any attempts to fraudulently access the platform and flag these cases to our safety team, and to the police and social services if necessary.