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OnlyFans shocker: Lawsuits allege platform paid to put adult entertainers on terrorist watch list

The adult entertainment industry has been rocked by a group of lawsuits claiming that OnlyFans bribed Meta (formerly known as Facebook) to add performers who use rival platforms to a terrorist watch list.

As reported by The New York Post and BBC News, three lawsuits have been filed that allege the popular subscriber content platform developed a scheme to undermine adult models and entertainers who promoted their work on competitor sites. One is a class-action suit filed by a group of OnlyFans content creators, while the other two come from rival platforms.

It’s one of those stories that seems too ridiculous to be true, but the suits claim that, in 2018, OnlyFans paid off Meta to include specific names and social media accounts on a watch list managed by Global Internet Forum To Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), a non-profit co-founded by Meta, Twitter, Microsoft, and YouTube with the goal of stopping the spread of terrorist videos and messaging online.

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Per lawyers representing the plaintiffs, there’s a list of over 21,000 adult performers that, as result of being placed on the watch list, have been “shadowbanned” across social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In other words, their content has unknowingly been blocked from reaching their full audience, which of course would directly impact their ability to make an income.

One such performer is Alana Evans, who told the Post: “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.”

According to Jezebel, if even one of these social media sites marks a user’s content as being “terrorist-related,” they are then given a digital print known as a “hash” which “significantly [reduces] their visibility on websites other than OnlyFans.

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In a court filing earlier this month, attorneys for OnlyFans competitor JustFor.Fans alleged that “the blacklisting of plaintiffs and others has caused OnlyFans to achieve a drastically enlarged market share while its competitors stagnated or declined. The defendants engaged in a scheme to misuse a terrorist blacklist to obtain a competitive advantage.”

Indeed, OnlyFans has only grown in notoriety over the last few years, becoming synonymous with independent, user-created-and-distributed adult entertainment. But while the platform has made headlines for the jaw-dropping amount of money it brings in for its top performers, it’s not been without its controversies. And now these lawsuits call the legitimacy of its ascent into question.

Representatives for both OnlyFans and Meta have denied the allegations, claiming that they are “without merit.”