Why two Utah lawmakers are calling for an investigation into OnlyFans

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4th Congressional District Republican candidate Burgess Owens speaks during an Utah Debate Commission debate against Democratic Utah Congressman Ben McAdams on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (Kristin Murphy/ Deseret News, via AP, Pool)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4) – Two Utah representatives are joining a group of other lawmakers calling on the Department of Justice to investigate a subscription-based social media site for child exploitation.

Reps. Burgess Owens and Blake Moore are joining more than 100 others in calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to launch the investigation into OnlyFans. The bipartisan coalition is expressing concerns regarding the prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) on OnlyFans’ website and the actions taken to ensure minors are protected from exploitation.

In a letter to AG Garland, lawmakers call OnlyFans “a major marketplace for buying and selling Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) in the United States.”

According to the company, “OnlyFans is the social platform revolutionizing creator and fan connections. The site is inclusive of artists and content creators from all genres and allows them to monetize their content while developing authentic relationships with their fanbase.”

The New York Times has referred to the platform the “paywall of porn.” OnlyFans, unlike other social media platforms, permits explicit content. Creators can require “fans” to pay a fee to view their content, according to USA Today. Celebrities like Cardi B and Bella Thorne are known to be on the platform.

Lawmakers say the “presence of CSAM on OnlyFans is undeniable.” In 2021, the National Center for Mission and Exploited Children has identified at least 80 cases in which missing children were linked to OnlyFans content, the letter explains, with the site becoming one of the top contributors to online sexual exploitation in the nation.

Members of Congress are now calling for a “robust investigation into OnlyFans,” with focus on the prevalence of CSAM on the site, what measures are being taken to address it, the prevalence of missing or abducted children linked to OnlyFans, and the use of messaging within the site to solicit prostitution.

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