Alana Evans noticed that her engagement across social media was down. She wondered what was going on and why it seemed like nobody was suddenly seeing her posts. Less engagement on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms is terrible for her adult content business.
Other adult content creators began to realize the same thing was happening to their accounts. However, a few claimed not to notice any difference in their engagement. The reason is that the latter group only promoted their Onlyfans business on the platforms, according to The BBC.
This prompted Evans, her fellow creators, and competing adult content platforms to look into the matter. It wasn't long before they discovered that OnlyFans allegedly bribed executives from Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, to place adult content creators who advertised other mature-oriented platforms on a Dangerous Person list.
Evans told the New York Post that she was shocked by what they found. She's also angry about the situation for multiple reasons, not least of which is that her business was greatly affected. "When I heard that my content may be listed on the terror watch list, I was outraged. I was angry because it affected my income when my social media traffic dropped significantly, and I was angry because I am the daughter of a veteran who fought for this country."
FanCentro, along with Evans and others, have filed a lawsuit against OnlyFans and Meta. They claim that the business practice is unfair and done to ensure that the adult content platform crowded out its competition.
OnlyFans has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to defend themselves against the lawsuit.
What OF Did
Evans and her fellow adult content creators were placed on the terror list by the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFTC). Social media companies like Google, Meta, and Snapchat created the organization to help combat mass shootings videos and prevent other terrorist content from being shared across the social media universe. It is a nonprofit group that puts together a database of alleged terrorists, which is shared with social media companies.
The alleged scheme was simple. According to Law.com, employees of OnlyFans bribed representatives from Meta to place adult content creators promoting their businesses from other platforms on the terror list. This would impact the way their posts showed up. In essence, placing them on the database would hide their posts. Usually, the companies blamed the situation on the algorithm.
Part of the lawsuit reads: "This case is about a corrupt business gaining an enormous advantage over its competitors by wrongfully manipulating behind-the-scenes databases, and in the process, harming thousands of small entrepreneurs who rely on social media to promote sales of their product and earn a living..."
The plaintiffs allege that OnlyFans came to dominate the adult content business because of this scheme. The website's popularity exploded in recent years, becoming the 8th most visited site in the United States.
But Did They Do It?
OnlyFans denies any wrongdoing. They even told the New York Post that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit admit there is no merit to the court filings. The statement goes as far as to say there is no evidence that anything that has been alleged happened. A motion to dismiss the lawsuit has been filed, but a decision isn't expected on that until September.
GIFTC claims to have looked into the matter and found no evidence of wrongdoing. According to Law.com, the group also claims neither party has anything to do with them. The statement is untrue, given the defendants in the case list several organizations that work directly with the database they run.
They released a statement via the New York Post: "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 connection to these claims..."
The lawsuit does not name GIFTC as a defendant in the case.
It does name Meta and its subsidiaries, Facebook and Instagram, though. The parent company claims that they also investigated the claims. They claim that they found nothing wrong, though the social media giant did not disclose how or when the investigation was conducted.
Evans and her fellow plaintiffs claim that those involved in the scheme were clever about how they did business. They allege that Fenix International (OnlyFans' parent company) routed the bribes through a Hong Kong subsidiary to bank accounts in the Philippines, where the Meta employees were able to access their money. At least one senior executive was named in the scheme.
According to The BBC, The goal for OnlyFans was to suppress any competition and help the creators on their platform, the lawsuit alleges. They wanted to ensure that creators on other platforms were buried or removed from the social media sites altogether. As evidence, they entered in statics that showed that creators on OnlyFans were less likely to be flagged for adult content or as a terrorist than those working on other platforms.
Both sides are expected to appear in court in September.