Sex workers kicked off ‘link in bio’ platform, Linktree
Another day, another online platform goes after sex workers.
According to a new report from Motherboard. According to Linktree, the company only blocks users who post links to IRL sex dating and other services.
“As per our company policies, the banned Linktree accounts resulted from sharing a URL that violated Community Standards by sharing advertisements for the sale of real sex,” a Linktree spokesperson said in response to Motherboard.
If you’re a heavy user of social media platforms like Instagram, you’re probably familiar with Linktree. The service is one of the most popular “link in bio” or “link in bio” services. Linktree and similar services provide users with the tools to create a simple landing page that lists all of their social media accounts along with other links.
By consolidating all of these destinations on one page, services like Linktree have often become the default choice for many social media users who are only allowed one URL in their social media bios.
“Link in bio” services have become particularly popular on Instagram, especially due to the limitation of adding links to a user’s posts. Influencers will often tell their followers to check out the products or services they are promoting by checking out their “link in bio”, which is often a Linktree link from users.
These biolink services are also popular with sex workers. Instagram does not allow links to sexually explicit material. Services like Linktree provide a workaround.
According to affected parties who spoke to Motherboard, users received no warning from Linktree before logging into their accounts and finding that they were banned. Sex workers paying for Linktree’s premium service found that they were, in fact, always charged, regardless of the ban.
How to Support Survivors of Sex Trafficking Without Harming Consenting Sex Workers
The report points out that Linktree has already banned “sexually explicit material” in its terms Services. However, these terms do not specify whether linking to such “material” hosted on a third-party platform is also prohibited. (Judging by these latest events, this is also prohibited.)
FOSTA/SESTA the laws have made it much more difficult for sex workers to earn a living. Additionally, it has become common for new and up-and-coming online services to turn a blind eye to sex workers when they need help from those users to grow their platforms…only for those same services to give sex workers sex the boot when they are big enough not to need them anymore, as seen with only fans in 2021.