Mark’s OnlyFans Headache & Elon’s Empty Threats

Meta is moving swiftly to put to rest a class action from a group of aspiring adult entertainers.
Meta is moving swiftly to put to rest a class action from a group of aspiring adult entertainers. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Eriq Gardner
July 10, 2023

With all the other legal problems on Mark Zuckerberg’s plate—fighting an A.I. trade secrets lawsuit, defusing Elon Musk’s “copycat” threat over Threads, appealing a $1.3 billion E.U. fine—it’s no wonder that Meta is moving swiftly to put to rest a class action from a group of aspiring sex workers who accuse the company of unjustly shadow-banning them.

It all started a year ago when the adult entertainers claimed that Instagram had colluded with OnlyFans to “blacklist” rival NSFW sites including ManyVids, LiveJasmin, and FanCentro. Adding fuel to the fire, the plaintiffs pointed to financial records purporting to show payments to top Meta executives Nicola Mendelsohn, Christian Perrella, and Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister of the U.K. who is now Meta’s president for global affairs. Were they bribed by OnlyFans to favor its content? That was the implication of a so-called Facebook employee in a “whistleblower” report that supposedly came into the company’s integrity reporting site. Meta and OnlyFans have called the allegations meritless, but in late November, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup deemed them plausible enough to reject Meta’s motion to dismiss, thrusting the sordid affair into the discovery phase.