OnlyFans accused of paying Meta to put rival models on terror list

At the height of the pandemic, OnlyFans was enjoying a tidal wave of success. The platform exploded rising to 85 million users in 2020 from the 7.5 million it had in November 2019.

However, the platform is now under fire from models on rival platforms. The models claim that OnlyFans has colluded with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism to place them on a terrorist content database. This forum was set up by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube in 2017.

As a result of this accusation, Meta is now facing multiple class action lawsuits alleging it accepted bribes from OnlyFans. As reported by Jezebel, three lawsuits accuse OnlyFans of bribing Meta to place 20 000 names on the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism terrorist content database.

This database was “designed to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms” and all it takes is one website to flag content as terrorist related for problems to arise. What’s perhaps more problematic is that one can be on this list and not even know.

But models did notice that their content was not as visible as their peers on OnlyFans, even on social media websites such as Facebook. This lead many to believe they had been shadowbanned or placed on the aforementioned terrorist content database.

To add insult to injury, OnlyFans also faces a civil lawsuit from competitor FanCentro which alleges “tortious interference with contract and intentional interference with prospective business”.

On its end, Meta said the claims were highly implausible according to an Ars Technica report. The social media giant added that the more likely explanation is that OnlyFans beat its competitors to market and won users over with strategic moves such as partnering with celebrities. Meta also claimed that it was protected under the USA’s First Amendment and the Communications Decency Act and could moderate content how it saw fit.

However, a legal representative for one of the plaintiffs says that claims about free speech and the Communications Decency Act don’t apply here as it’s a matter of the firm allegedly engaging in unfair business practices.

The representative also told Ars Technica that they hope to begin discovery in September. This would see a request being pushed to Meta and the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism to prove or disprove whether 21 000 Instagram accounts were placed on the terrorist content database.

We’ll be watching this story closely because if these allegations are true, OnlyFans is going to have a lot to answer for.


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