An OnlyFans Leak Isn't Anything New

OnlyFans denies any breach of their systems.
28 February 2020, 10:40am
Getty Images
Getty Images

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

Earlier this week, rumors of an OnlyFans leak started circulating around Twitter and other social platforms and forums. The speculation among concerned OnlyFans users was that the site, which is a paid subscription service for adult performers, was breached, and the hacker leaked a massive amount of private content into the wild.

In the last 72 hours, several new websites and forums have appeared, claiming to host leaked content from OnlyFans. One link was circulating that contained around 300GB of content in folders, sorted by pseudonymous stage names of around 120 models and social accounts. Another link to a database also started circulating, but then went down.

At the time of writing, this doesn't appear to be a massive breach, but an unfortunate commonality in the lives of sex workers—stolen content—assembled into a trove of content and shared around the internet.

"We have investigated claims of a site wide hack and found no evidence of any breach of our systems," Steve Pymm, head of marketing at OnlyFans, told Motherboard. "The content contained in the supposed 'leak' seems to be curated from multiple sources, including other social media applications."

Motherboard hasn't seen any evidence that users or models' personal information was exposed—the content that's being shared in the link is primarily images and videos of the models during public or private shows, or custom-made clips. Some reported private Patreon content that was stolen, as well.

What seems to be happening, rather than a data breach, is the same thing that happens to sex workers every day on the internet: Someone has stolen a bunch of their content and reshared it for free, spreading it around online through both mainstream social platforms and forums devoted to ripping performers' paid content.

One of the earlier tweets about this content dump, posted on February 20, captures this attitude succinctly:

While a content dump of this size is not technically a breach or hack, or even a "leak," it is still highly disconcerting, and potentially dangerous for the models involved. Many subscription sites like OnlyFans have options to location-gate content, so models can prevent people from a certain geographic region from seeing their shows. When content is shared widely on tube sites, forums or social media, it puts the performers in them at risk of further doxing and harassment, as we've seen with porn that's non-consensually posted to Pornhub.

All sorts of adult performers have their content stolen all the time. That doesn't make it less traumatizing and frustrating when it happens, and it doesn't absolve those who do the stealing.

Joseph Cox contributed to reporting for this article.

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