OnlyFans Has a 'Murky Yet Vital' Secret

'Wired:' An army of low-paid professional chatters pose as the platform's performers
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2024 8:33 AM CDT
OnlyFans Has a 'Murky Yet Vital' Secret
The OnlyFans logo is seen on a computer monitor.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

OnlyFans subscribers who cherish their one-on-one relationships with personalities on the site might want to consider the math problem involved here: The thriving platform has about 2 million creators and 190 million subscribers, writes Brendan I. Koerner at Wired. Meaning, "it's impossible for even a modestly popular creator to cope with the avalanche of messages they receive each day." Solution? Outsourcing. The "murky yet vital" secret of OnlyFans is that an army of low-paid professional chatters, most of them outside the US, engage with subscribers via direct messaging, the story explains. And Koerner knows this because he not only spoke to some of them, he went undercover as a chatter himself. The story details his learning curve in sometimes comical ways.

In one tryout, "due to my hasty misreading of Miko's bio, I characterized her as a fan of spicy ramen when she actually prefers her food mild," he writes, which prompted a scolding from a supervisor: "I have to ask you to pay attention to these little facts." Koerner doesn't last long in the pathos-inducing job, which puts a premium on getting subscribers to shell out extra money for usually raunchy videos. The story notes that at least one US law firm views this as fraud and plans a class-action lawsuit. As for the prospect that AI chatbots might someday replace human chatters, the humans seem unfazed. "No AI can beat a damn good salesman," is one typical response in a chatters' social media forum. But in Koerner's view, these workers, like the subscribers they deceive, are "destined to be marks." Read the full story. (Or read other longform recaps.)

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