Investigating OnlyFans' compliance with its duties to protect under-18s from restricted material and respond to information requests

Published: 1 May 2024


Investigation into

Fenix International Limited, in its capacity as provider of the VSP OnlyFans

Case opened

1 May 2024


We are investigating whether OnlyFans has contravened its duties to implement appropriate measures (taken under Schedule 15A) to protect under-18s from encountering restricted material such as pornography. We are also looking at whether OnlyFans failed to provide complete and accurate responses to statutory information requests.

Relevant legal provision(s)

Sections 368Y(3)(b) and (c), 368Z10(6) and 368Z1(2) of the Communications Act 2003 (the ‘Act’)

Ofcom has been the regulator of UK established video sharing platforms (VSPs) since November 2020 and children’s safety online is one of our top priorities. As part of our functions in this regime, we monitor how persons under-18 are protected from restricted material such as material which might impair their physical, mental or moral development.

To carry out our work in relation to this, it is imperative that we can gather accurate information about the measures put in place by regulated VSPs to protect users to enable us to report on these and monitor their effectiveness. This includes understanding systems, such as age assurance measures and software used, to help ensure that children are protected from restricted material. Ofcom may use the information we gather to prepare and publish reports under section 368Z11 of the Act.

Under section 368Z1(1)(a) of the Act, VSP providers are obliged to take such of the measures set out in Schedule 15A as are appropriate for the purposes of protecting persons under the age of 18 from videos and audiovisual commercial communications containing restricted material.

Under section 368Z1(2) of the Act, where such measures are taken, VSP providers must implement the measure in such a way as to carry out the specified purpose.

Additionally, section 368Y(3) of the Act obliges a VSP provider to:

  • provide the information requested by Ofcom pursuant to section 368Z10 of the Act; and
  • co-operate fully with Ofcom for any purpose mentioned in section 368Z10(3).

Where Ofcom has reasonable grounds for believing that a contravention of the above-mentioned obligations has occurred or is occurring, we may take enforcement action under section 368Z2 and 368Z3 of the Act.


Today we have opened an investigation into Fenix International Limited, the provider of VSP OnlyFans. The investigation concerns OnlyFans’ compliance with its statutory obligations under sections 368Y(3)(b) and (c), 368Z10(6), and 368Z1(2) of the Act. Specifically, our investigation concerns OnlyFans’ requirement to:

(i) implement the age assurance measures it has taken in such a way as to protect under 18s from restricted material, including pornographic material; and

(ii) comply with two information request notices issued on 6 June 2022 and 23 June 2023 under section 368Z10 of the Act.

Among other things, these notices requested information to:

  • understand and monitor the measures OnlyFans had in place, including measures to assure the age of its users, and how they were implemented to help ensure under-18 users were protected from restricted material, including pornography; and
  • enable Ofcom to publish a report under section 368Z11 highlighting how OnlyFans and other VSPs are protecting under 18s from restricted material.

'Users' means anyone able to access and/or view videos on OnlyFans.

The available evidence suggests that the information provided by OnlyFans in response to the two notices may not have been complete and accurate, and that the age assurance measures it had taken may not have been implemented in such a way as to protect under 18s from restricted material.

Ofcom’s investigation will therefore examine whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that OnlyFans has failed to comply with section 368Z1(2) of the Act and/or has contravened sections 368Y(3)(b) and (c), and 368Z10(6) of the Act.

We expect to provide an update on this investigation by August 2024.

Case reference


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