Sex Workers Just Got Banned From Promoting Their In-Person Services Through Linktree
Linktree is the latest tech company to crack down on adult content.
Australian link-in-bio service Linktree has banned sex workers from its platform without warning over the weekend, marking yet another tech company distancing itself from NSFW content.
Sex workers took to social media over the weekend to share their shock in finding out that their accounts were banned for “inappropriate use” without warning or notice.
Lol why did I just randomly get banned from linktree
— Cara Valentine | SLC (@misscarav) January 14, 2022
Some users also alleged that they were billed for the premium service, which costs US$6 per month, and weren’t refunded when their accounts were banned.
In a statement provided to Junkee, Head of Trust & Safety at Linktree Marlene Bonnelly confirmed the company has banned a “small number” of accounts for violating community standards.
“Per our company’s policies, Linktree banned a small number of accounts which stemmed from sharing a URL that violated Community Standards by sharing advertisements for the sale of real-life sexual services,” Bonnelly said.
The ban does not impact all sex workers on the platform, with Linktree confirming it only applies to advertising real-life sexual services and not things like OnlyFans.
As per the company’s community standards, in-person sex work (“prostitution”) is prohibited, while adult content is allowed as long as it meets the guidelines specified.
- The content you’re linking to is legal in your region,
- The media on your Linktree, such as your avatar, remains suitable for all ages, and
- You enable the sensitive content label appropriately, especially if you’re embedding content feeds that may contain adult material
The move to ban some sex workers from the platform is yet another crushing blow for the sex work industry, which has repeatedly been hit by tech and finance companies cracking down on NSFW services since the US government passed its controversial Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (FOSTA-SESTA) legislation, which holds platforms like OnlyFans liable for the behaviour of its users.
While the FOSTA-SESTA laws — in theory — are designed to prevent sex trafficking, the bill does not differentiate between sex trafficking and legal and consensual sex work, which means many perfectly legal sex workers have been impacted by the legislation due to platforms changing their policies.
Link-in-bio services like Linktree are vital to sex workers because many social media sites like Instagram do not allow direct links out to NSFW sites like OnlyFans. Additionally, as more and more platforms crackdown on adult content, many sex workers are forced to diversify their services across a range of websites as a kind of insurance in case a platform like OnlyFans decides to ban adult content without warning.
Linktree joins a number of other businesses including Patreon, PayPal, Visa and Mastercard — as well as a number of Australian banks — in choosing not to allow sex workers (either entirely, or part of the industry) to use their services.
Linktree confirmed that refunds will be issued to affected customers.