FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Lawyers acting on behalf of FanCentro’s parent company have filed a civil lawsuit in Broward County, Florida against OnlyFans’ U.S. billing company, Fenix Internet LLC and owner Leonid Radvinsky, alleging “tortious interference with contract and intentional interference with prospective business.”
FanCentro’s lawyers allege that Radvinsky “engaged in a scheme to cause competitors of OnlyFans — including [FanCentro] — to be ‘blacklisted’ by social media platforms, for the purpose of interfering with [FanCentro’s] business and reducing competition with OnlyFans.”
The complaint defines this “blacklisting” as being “typically accomplished by automated classifiers of filters that keep particular websites or pages from appearing on social media platforms or appearing in the results shown in search engines pursuant to user queries.”
The lawsuit alleges a conspiracy between Radvinsky and unnamed persons in an unnamed company to blacklist OnlyFans competitors. This blacklisting, the suit alleges, suddenly halted FanCentro's growth in winter 2018, after which the company's growth “stagnated and then started declining because [models] who promoted FanCentro began losing their pages on Instagram or had their page visibility reduced.”
FanCentro alleges that before Radvinsky acquired OnlyFans parent company Fenix International Limited in October 2018, OnlyFans was “a medium size competitor” in a “vibrant, competitive market with more than 100 [adult entertainment] platforms.”
But after October 2018, according to the complaint, adult entertainment providers that had previously only promoted OnlyFans' competitors “suddenly began to experience a drop-off in traffic on social media platforms” and “experienced having many posts deleted by social media services, and the number of click-throughs from those posts that did appear on social media services dropped drastically.”
The complaint alleges that this alleged drop “was most noticeable on Instagram,” but “also occurred on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.”
'Substantial Reduced Visibility'
FanCentro alleges that “the combination of deleted posts and reduced click-throughs resulted in substantially reduced visibility for the [adult entertainment] providers on social media,” and that this “extended as far as reduced visibility on Google’s search engine.”
According to FanCentro, the reduction on social media traffic “was so substantial and dramatic that it could not have been the result of filtering by human reviewers” and the drop “suggested that social media services were using computer algorithms that automatically classify/filter content.”
FanCentro alleges that models “who had only promoted OnlyFans online” and not any of their competitors — other than MyFreeCams and AVNStars, which the lawsuit names as companies also owned by Radvinsky — “appeared to be unaffected by these automated takedowns and reduced traffic.”
FanCentro also alleges that OnlyFans “obfuscated” its supposed participation in this “scheme” by claiming that some of the models who promoted OnlyFans and also other companies were affected by the social media blackout, although “in fact those who promoted exclusively OnlyFans were immune.”
The lawsuit claims that OnlyFans' current dominant position in the sector came as the result of this alleged drop in the traffic of models promoting other platforms.
The central claim of the FanCentro lawsuit concerns what the company calls “the disproportionate classification/filtering treatment” accorded OnlyFans’ competitors as compared with models who exclusively promoted OnlyFans.
Since, the complaint alleges, “there is no statistical or other benign explanation (such as better marketing)” for the alleged differential treatment, FanCentro has reached the conclusion that “it was caused by a manipulation of one or more of the individual databases (or sets of training data) that was then shared in part or in full among multiple companies,” a scheme designed “for the purpose of harming the competitors of OnlyFans and their [models], and to cause a net benefit to OnlyFans and its [adult entertainment] providers who never promoted any OnlyFans competitors.”
Allegations of a 'Mysterious Immunity' Against Blacklisting
Central to the lawsuit is what FanCentro’s lawyers called the “mysterious immunity of OnlyFans and two sites affiliated with Radvinsky […] to this new heightened classification/filtering activity” which FanCentro claims took place “soon after October 2018.”
The lawsuit also implies that one of the manipulated databases was the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a shared hash database created in 2017 by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube.
FanCentro and “certain [adult entertainment] providers,” the lawsuit alleges, “were blacklisted as terrorist organizations or individuals, sympathizers, or otherwise as dangerous organization or individuals, and content associated with them was hashed and shared with the GIFCT, along with certain URL data, with the goal of harming [FanCentro’s] business (and through the scheme, the other [adult entertainment] platforms that competed with OnlyFans), in order to improve the market position, revenue, power and otherwise benefit OnlyFans and its owner, Radvinsky.”
The lawsuit claims that the alleged scheme “required and involved” individuals within a company “with the ability to add and/or manipulate content” on these databases, and that Radvinsky and others involved with OnlyFans “provided the information” to these individuals “to add false classifier/filtering information” to them.
The lawsuit conjectures that the alleged participants in the scheme must have been driven by “an economic incentive,” and implies Radvinsky and/or OnlyFans used an offshore company in Hong Kong and other Asian countries for these alleged transactions.
A Florida Lawsuit Leaked to a BBC Journalist
The FanCentro lawsuit was filed in November by FanCentro's lawyers: William R. Scherer of Fort Lauderdale, Florida firm Conrad & Scherer; Jeffrey C. Schneider of Miami firm Levine Kellog Lehman Schneider + Grossman; and David E. Azar of Beverly Hills firm Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman.
The lawsuit was leaked this morning to BBC News journalist Noel Titheradge.
According to Titheradge, “OnlyFans has not yet issued a legal response" to the FanCentro lawsuit, "but a spokesperson said the company was aware of the claims — describing them as having ‘no merit.’”
Last August, Titheradge authored a sensationalized report criticizing OnlyFans, which the notoriously anti-sex-worker and anti-porn BBC promoted by implying that it had caused the company to “ban sex videos.” The BBC later had to revise the report's headline to correct that implication.