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The OnlyFans Lawsuit Illuminates the Danger Social Media Companies Pose to Us All—Here’s What You Need to Know

Capitalism strikes once again.

It feels like every time we turn around there is some new, terrifying information coming out about mega-corporations involving themselves in our personal lives. Whether it is Amazon trying to buy Roomba to make sure they know what we are doing at all times or Meta/Facebook handing over private Facebook messages for an abortion investigation, it all feels a little violating.

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Well, here comes another doozy. This time, it is a lawsuit filed against OnlyFans and Meta/Facebook. Usually, OnlyFans appears in the news because of an issue related to pornography use or sex workers’ rights. But this lawsuit concerns social media power and capitalism—and their threat to humanity.

The Lawsuit

There is technically more than one lawsuit going against OnlyFans and Meta right now, but they fall under the same umbrella. Adult Performing Artists Guild (which represents several adult entertainers who used OnlyFans, along with other adult content sites) and rival OnlyFans companies, JustForFans and FanCentro, have all filed lawsuits. All the cases center on one allegation—OnlyFans bribed Meta employees to put some adult entertainers on a terrorist watch list.

The allegations say OnlyFans bribed Meta employees to put roughly 20,000 names (and their corresponding social media accounts) on a terrorist watch list. Meta, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube founded the specific watch group in 2017. The non-profit, known as Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), is “designed to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms.”

Meta employees, reportedly, added names to the GIFCT list, on the order of OnlyFans, with no evidence to back up the reason. Only one site needs to report someone to get their name listed with GIFCT. If someone is listed on the GIFCT, they are effectively “shadow-banned” from websites. This means their content is either harder to find, not promoted, or possibly removed. Creators noticed huge drops in their online presence from the rival adult sites and on mainstream social media platforms. If creators aren’t seen regularly, they don’t make money.

But why?

Because that all makes sense and sounds totally normal, right? Why would OnlyFans put their own creators on a terrorist list? Here we find the core problem with all of this. Allegedly, OnlyFans just listed creators who featured content on rival platforms. The one site that was immune to this backdoor banning was OnlyFans. This gave them the upper hand over their rivals because banned creators could be found solely on OnlyFans.

Basically, it all comes down to OnlyFans wanting to be the ruler of adult content creators, which comes down to making more money. It didn’t matter if the people listed were affected by a loss of income or felt personally impacted in any other way (I mean, Jesus, they were put on a terrorist watch list). It appears that two, very large, very powerful, companies, OnlyFans and Meta, may have sold their users out, all in the name of capitalism. I wouldn’t say I’m shocked, but I’m still saddened. Why can’t these corporations be happy with a slice of the pie instead of trying to consume the entire thing just to make sure no one else gets any? Greed is not good for any of us.

And if they did this, then what does it mean for any of us if we cross them in some way? It’s a terrifying thought.

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.