The rise in covid-19 also ushered in new ways people worked and played – and sometimes did both at the same time. The UK-based website OnlyFans, a subscription-based service for ‘content producers’ (in many cases sex workers), saw a huge uptick. The business model allows plenty of room for amateurs, as well, causing some service members or security clearance holders to question if creating their own OnlyFans side hustle is allowed – or if their employer will find out.

A recent comment on the ClearanceJobsBlog site asks if they can create an OnlyFans account – and not have their employer find out about it. It’s not something that can be kept out of the background investigations process. It’s unlikely an OnlyFans account would come out in the course of an investigation of its own accord, but failing to list it could be considered lying and result in a security clearance denial or revocation for that reason – nothing to do with the site or the type of content the clearance holder is releasing.

Because the site generates income for content producers, it would need to be listed as an employment activity on the SF-86. One commenter notes, “An unlisted self-employment where you did can be blackmailed is a more serious (possibly disqualifying) issue.”

The government is not interested in the morality of the issue, but the personal, financial, and blackmail-worthy aspects. As a general rule, if it’s something you’re concerned could show up in a background investigation, you clearly have enough concern for the site to possibly be a blackmail issue down the road.

Employer Vs. Investigator

It’s worth differentiating between your employer finding out and your investigator. Because you have to include the site on your SF-86, there is a decent chance that information will be seen by your security officer, if they review your application for any reason. But in most cases, security officers are not in the business of sharing that information with human resources, managers, or others within your company – and there are good legal and employment grounds for that. Again, if you’re seeking to keep the information from being found out by your employer, that could certainly come up in a background investigator and become a disqualifying factor. But simply providing the information doesn’t mean your boss will find out about your OnlyFans side hustle.

Like most issues, a clearance holder or applicant has to decide if the gains are worth the risks. In the case of an OnlyFans account, those interested in national security work may find there are better ways to earn a buck or get some attention.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer