The lawsuit accuses OnlyFans and Facebook of targeting third-party adult entertainment websites to preserve OnlyFans’ market position–in some cases going so far as to flag performers’ content as terrorist propaganda.
OnlyFans is facing a set of lawsuits accusing it of conspiring with Facebook to disable and “blacklist” the accounts of performers working with rival platforms.
In their prospective class action, adult entertainment performers claim that OnlyFans representatives bribed Facebook employees to ensure the platform’s dominance.
According to Engadget, the defendants took drastic steps to put content-creators out of business. In several instances, performers’ personal information and videos were uploaded to the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, despite not being terror-related. The lawsuit suggests that this led to a marked decrease in traffic to websites trying to compete with OnlyFans.
The GIFCT, notes the BBC, uses “advanced technology” to stop the spread of terrorist images and videos by capturing unique digital signatures from content. These signatures are called “hashes,” and are uploaded to a database shared with members of the forum.
The hash database, says the BBC, is shared between 18 different companies and platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.
If one of the participant companies “hashes” an image, video, or other form of media, the digital signature is shared with other members, who can automatically remove or manually moderate purportedly offensive content.
One of OnlyFans’ competitors, FanCentro, said the practice of “blacklisting” content most frequently occurs on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook parent company Meta.
FanCentro claims that performers who exclusively promoted their OnlyFans accounts did not face any punitive content moderate.
OnlyFans has since told the BBC that the class’s claims have “no merit.” Meta, meanwhile has said that “these allegations are without merit and we will address them in the context of litigation as needed.”
A spokesperson for the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism also said that the organization is “not aware of any evidence to support the theories presented in this lawsuit between two parties with no connection to GIFCT.”
“Our continuing work to enhance transparency and oversight of the GIFCT hash-sharing database is the result of extensive engagement with our stakeholders and has no connections to these claims,” a GIFCT spokesperson added.
The BBC notes that Facebook has been served with a subpoena, meaning that it could be compelled to share relevant details in court.
The subpoena request has reportedly requested copies of any internal documents showing OnlyFans’ rival websites included on lists of “Dangerous Individual[s] or Organizations” maintained by Meta.
The class action is also seeking records of any payments OnlyFans representatives may have made to Meta or Meta executives and employees.