John Whaite quit OnlyFans due to its alleged failure to protect children – other platforms should take note

Posted by Dina Zubi in Comment

1 year ago

Author, food creator and broadcaster John Whaite has announced he is leaving OnlyFans due to an investigation which found users are sharing imagery of child exploitation on the platform. 

The Strictly Come Dancing and Great British Bake Off star – who has also been vocal about mental health safeguarding – joined OnlyFans in August 2022 to publish fitness content and document his gym progress. In an Instagram post, he stated he will not “put profit before social purpose”. He added: “I cannot morally continue to use a platform that is subject to such serious allegations.”

Amrapali Gan – CEO of OnlyFans – has immediately confirmed the business is working with law enforcement and claims it is still the safest social platform in the world.

However, newer and emerging social platforms should take note. Creators have been accepting of safeguarding issues on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook but this was in the knowledge that they were the pioneers. Nobody could predict how transformative social media would become or how problematic it would be at the same time. 

Dangerous content has flourished across that first wave of social platforms for years, but newer businesses coming into the industry should know better and have the ambition to do better. They should have learned from their predecessors’ mistakes. 

In tandem, the role of the creator has evolved and with that many believe they have a responsibility to have values and stick to them. By leaving OnlyFans, Whaite is simply reaffirming what his followers know to be true about him: he cares about societal welfare and has softly reinforced this throughout his career. 

OnlyFans is largely viewed as an adult platform, in spite of creators like Alex George, Jade Laurice and Adam Collard, who have used it to discuss mental health, host art workshops and share fitness content. Its public perception makes findings of child exploitation even more problematic, as it paints a picture that OnlyFans is a hub not only NSFW content, but where illegal and disturbing content can thrive.

Online safety is a huge issue in 2022 and newer social platforms must take note if they want creators to get on board. They will not have the understanding of social media’s first generation. Creators will vote with their feet and a social platform with no content is one that is unlikely to survive. 

By Dina Zubi, news and features writer for CORQ. Picture credit: John Whaite via Instagram.