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OnlyFans Bribed Meta to Put Certain Porn Performers on a Terrorist Watchlist, Lawsuit Alleges

According to a lawsuit, OnlyFans associates allegedly bribed Meta employees to put thousands of porn performers working on competitor sites on a "terrorist watchlist."

By August 30, 2022No Comments

According to a lawsuit filed by law firm Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, OnlyFans associates allegedly bribed Meta employees (formerly named Facebook) to put thousands of porn performers working on competitor sites on a “terrorist watchlist.”

In other words, someone who posts an x-rated pic that is wrongly flagged as terrorist propaganda on Instagram can be quickly censored across social media sites, all without the poster or public knowing that it was placed on the list—much less how or why.

The lawsuit purports that these performers were put on a watchlist not because they were actually terrorists, but specifically to suppress their competitor content.

Related: Report Alleges Facebook Didn’t Fix Systems that Allow Human Traffickers to Recruit Victims on the Platform

As early as 2018, adult performers who were not working on OnlyFans reportedly began to see their social media accounts incorrectly tagged as containing terrorist content, severely harming their ability to promote their businesses and devastating their incomes.

The firm’s lawyers claim they have evidence of over 21,000 accounts that were “shadow-banned” across Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other sites—and that’s just one of many suits being brought against the companies. Targeted accounts also included businesses, celebrities, influencers and others who “have nothing to do with terrorism.”

Alana Evans, a porn performer and one of the plaintiffs in the suit, told the New York Post that she was “outraged” to hear that her content was allegedly being listed on a terror watchlist: “I was angry because it affected my income when my social media traffic dropped significantly.”

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How did OnlyFans allegedly bribe Meta, and what were the effects?

The suit, which is one of many being filed against the companies, alleges that Evans and others were placed in a database of terror-linked accounts run by the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), a nonprofit group that was started by Meta and others to stop the spread of mass shooting videos and other terrorist content across social media sites.

Meanwhile, bribes were allegedly routed from OnlyFans’ parent company, Fenix International, through a secret Hong Kong subsidiary into offshore Philippines bank accounts set up by the bribed Meta employees, potentially including at least one unnamed senior executive.

Related: Couple Arrested for Forcing Women They Trafficked to Sell Content on OnlyFans

As these bribes were paid off around October 2018, people selling content through OnlyFans’ rivals were allegedly hit with a “massive spike in content classification/filtering activity” that limited their reach at the same time that users of OnlyFans enjoyed a “mysterious immunity” to the crackdown.

Lawyers in a suit led by OnlyFans competitor JustForFans wrote in an August court filing to the California state court that, “The blacklisting of plaintiff and others has caused OnlyFans to achieve a drastically enlarged market share.”

OnlyFans, Meta, and GIFCT all claimed that the allegations were “without merit,” but if the allegations do end up being factual, it wouldn’t be the first time OnlyFans has had unethical business practices.

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Is OnlyFans ethical?

The 18+ subscription-only content platform is nowhere near as thorough or strict as they claim to be with moderating higher-earning profiles when they post explicit content.

In an investigation by the BBC, a combination of leaked internal documents and alleged reports from OnlyFans’ content moderators reveal that OnlyFans isn’t doing enough to both ensure uploaded content is consensual and that creators are of legal age.

According to one content moderator in the BBC’s investigation: “Accounts with low user numbers [would be moderated] ‘as we would and [restrict] when necessary.’ With middle range accounts, they are told to warn, ‘but only restrict after the 3rd warning.’ If one of the site’s most successful—and lucrative—creators breaks the rules, the account is dealt with by a different team.”

Related: Traffickers Reportedly Try to Recruit OnlyFans Content Creators, Report Finds

Or to put it another way, OnlyFans reportedly turns a blind eye to illicit content when it is more profitable for them.

To summarize, BBC exposed OnlyFans’ alleged questionable moderation practices and reported that the platform facilitates child sex trafficking. Now, on top of that, the company is being accused of harming the livelihoods of competitive performers.

Why this matters

We’re an anti-porn nonprofit, so why are we sharing about OnlyFans unethical business practices?

Even the most “ethical” of companies—especially in the adult entertainment industry—aren’t always what they seem. Moreover, regardless of whether porn is rife with exploitation or not, reputable research from respected institutions has shown that porn can be measurably harmful to consumers, relationships and society.

Related: An Inside Look at OnlyFans Management Companies that Allegedly Exploit Creators and Trick Subscribers

Why take a risk in watching exploitative material from a potentially unethical company?

To learn more about how OnlyFans has reportedly unethical business practices and profits from sex trafficking, click here.

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