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Did Meta Staff Take Bribes To Put Porn Stars on a Terrorism Blacklist? 

Written by Kevin TruongUpdated at Dec. 02, 2022 • 4:04pmPublished Dec. 02, 2022 • 11:56am
A photo illustration of the OnlyFans social media page on Facebook. Meta, which is the new name of Facebook, is accused of colluding with OnlyFans to blacklist select adult entertainers. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

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A lawsuit claiming that Meta employees took bribes to kill traffic to competitors of OnlyFans, an adult entertainment website, will move ahead after a federal judge deemed the claims plausible.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup denied a motion by Meta Platforms Inc. and OnlyFans parent company Fenix International Ltd. to dismiss a class-action lawsuit from a group of adult entertainers who say they were blacklisted on Instagram and Facebook because they worked with OnlyFans competitors.

Alsup pointed to a purported paper trail showing bribes paid to Meta employees, including wire transfers and emails between Fenix and Meta employees that were part of an alleged scheme to throttle traffic to OnlyFans competitor sites.  

A photo illustration of the OnlyFans social media page on Facebook. Meta, which is the new name of Facebook, is accused of colluding with OnlyFans to blacklist select adult entertainers. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

That evidence “supports plaintiffs’ allegation that Meta defendant’s employees accepted bribes” to blacklist the companies, wrote Alsup in the order. 

The plaintiffs presented data showing that starting in 2018, competitors of OnlyFans saw significant drops in web traffic. Traffic to OnlyFans increased significantly over the same period. The complaint also cited a news article stating that over 100 Instagram accounts that drove traffic to an OnlyFans competitor experienced takedowns in late 2018.

“These claims are completely false and lack a shred of evidence to back them up. We’re confident we’ll win this case,” a Meta spokesperson said.

In legal filings, the company has pointed out alleged inconsistencies in the plaintiff’s timeline of events and a lack of documentation about misconduct.

OnlyFans didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 

The original complaint was filed in February and has three named plaintiffs: Dawn Dangaard, Kelly Gilbert and Jennifer Allbaugh. 

According to the lawsuit, Meta and OnlyFans helped orchestrate a scheme where adult entertainers working with OnlyFans competitors were flagged internally for suspension or deletion. The plaintiffs alleged that adult entertainers were secretly added to a database intended to flag and remove violent terrorist content. 

The blacklisting scheme coincided with Leonid Radvinsky, a businessman and pornographer, taking a controlling interest in OnlyFans in 2018. 

At that point, the plaintiffs say they saw a drop off in traffic and engagement on their social media platforms, while adult entertainers who had only promoted OnlyFans or other Radvinsky-affiliated sites were unaffected by the takedowns and reduced traffic.

The lawsuit is seeking relief in the form of compensatory, statutory and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees. The suit also seeks the removal of adult entertainers from counter-terrorism databases if they do not meet requirements for inclusion and a court order requiring Meta to prevent abuses of this nature in the future. 

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Kevin Truong can be reached at [email protected]


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