MCI response to PQ on Proposal to Ban OnlyFans Website due to Its Distribution of Obscene Material
Parliament Sitting on 12 January 2022
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
25. Dr Shahira Abdullah: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether the Ministry will consider banning the OnlyFans website which can be used for the distribution of obscene media.
OnlyFans is a content subscription service based overseas that allows content creators to post content and receive payment directly from their followers. Its terms of service require users to be at least 18 years old and prohibit creators from posting egregious content, such as revenge porn. Members of the public may report suspected violations of the terms of service directly to the platform.
Under Singapore’s Penal Code, it is illegal to transmit any obscene material by electronic means. It is also illegal to participate in or receive profits from any business where obscene materials are transmitted by electronic means or advertise the sale of obscene materials. Following a police report and subsequent investigation by the Singapore Police Force (SPF), a 22-year-old was arrested in December 2021 for transmitting obscene materials via OnlyFans. Members of the public who are aware of persons engaging in such activities can similarly lodge a police report.
Not all content posted on OnlyFans is objectionable, but we must ensure that such content creation platforms do not expose Singaporeans to the risk of exploitation and abuse, especially our youth. The government closely monitors developments in this regard and will take regulatory action where appropriate.
Realistically, however, it will not be possible to block all objectionable or obscene content on the internet. That is why we must look beyond banning and take a holistic approach to deal with such content.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) requires Internet Service Providers to offer optional residential and mobile Internet filtering services to help parents ensure that children have safe access to the Internet. Our schools conduct cyber wellness lessons where students learn to identify and avoid inappropriate online content. Under Digital for Life (DfL), a national movement to help all Singaporeans embrace digitalisation, the Media Literacy Council (MLC) works with partners to promote safe and responsible online behaviour through resources and public education activities. In July 2021, MCI launched the Sunlight Alliance for Action (AfA) to tackle online harms, especially those targeted at women and girls. The AfA brings together partners from the people, public and private (3P) sectors to drive ground-up digital safety initiatives. These collective efforts help to build a well-informed and discerning citizenry that can guard against online harms.