Facebook has been accused of colluding with OnlyFans to blacklist rival adult websites in a lawsuit filed in the United States.
This week, BBC News revealed that OnlyFans was being sued for ordering a social media company to disable the accounts of adult artists by placing their content in a terrorism database.
Facebook has now been named as the company that allegedly conspired with OnlyFans in a class action lawsuit. Its parent company, Meta, says the allegations are “baseless.”
The British website OnlyFans — best known for hosting pornography — has grown significantly in recent years. It allows users to share video clips and photos with subscribers for a monthly fee.
Performers often use social media accounts to promote and link to adult websites posting their explicit content.
On Tuesday, BBC News revealed that rival adult website FanCentro is suing OnlyFans in the United States.
The lawsuit claims that social media content from adult performers promoting rival websites to OnlyFans was placed on a database of extremist material shared among technology companies that is managed by the Global Internet Forum on Counterterrorism (GIFCT).
The database — used by Facebook, YouTube and Twitter — flags terrorist content to other members so they can moderate similar content on their platforms.
OnlyFans has not yet issued a legal response, but a spokesperson said the company was aware of the allegations and that they had “no basis” for them.
Now, a class action lawsuit has been launched that names Facebook as the company accused of colluding with OnlyFans.
The suit, filed on behalf of three adult artists, lists both Facebook and OnlyFans’ parent company as defendants. It was brought by the same U.S. law firm, Milberg, that is suing OnlyFans directly.
The case asserts that performers’ content was placed in the GIFCT database despite not being terrorist in nature, resulting in reduced visibility on social networks and a marked decrease in traffic to OnlyFans’ competing websites.
Artists who only promoted their OnlyFans accounts on social networks did not face this punitive content moderation — it is alleged — resulting in a sharp increase in traffic visiting the website.
In recent years, artists using Instagram to promote and link to their adult websites have complained that even if they did not violate the site’s community guidelines, they received violation notifications and deleted posts.
The resulting loss of visibility and promotion of these accounts became known as “shadowban”.