Linktree Kicks Many Sex Workers From Its Site
Several sex workers are reporting on social media that Linktree banned them from the platform overnight.
Linktree is a service that allows users to organize links to all their social media accounts and platforms in one place. Many sites offer the same service, but Linktree is one of the most popular.
Linktree said that while many sex workers use its service without issue following the guidelines of its Community Standards, it will not allow links that facilitate real-life sexual services because full-service sex work is illegal.
“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,” said Marlene Bonnelly, Chief Trust and Safety Officer. at Linktree, Motherboard.
It is especially popular with sex workers, as most people who create erotic content online use multiple platforms, largely because platforms have so often discontinued service to them unexpectedly, such as AVN Stars did this last month (and as OnlyFans threatened to do, earlier in 2021), or shut down altogether, as many sites did after adopting FOSTA/SESTA in 2019. Diversify your presence on the internet is a way to ensure that revenue doesn’t come to a complete halt when a platform goes down. Another reason so many people use Linktree is that platforms, including Instagram, don’t allow linking to adult sites, like OnlyFans, and will ban users from doing so, but Linktree links are allowed. .
But Linktree is not entirely safe for sex workers. Its terms of service have long prohibited explicit content; users must not “include sexually explicit material (including images and language) on your page itself or on your account itself”. It’s not clear from the terms whether that means linking to explicit sites like OnlyFans is prohibited, or whether it only covers things like icons that show nudity and appear on your Linktree.
Many people wake up this morning to messages on their Linktree pages that their accounts have been banned “for improper use”. I counted at least a dozen people reporting this on Twitter, all sex workers. Some say Linktree charged them for the service (which costs $9 per month if you’re using the “pro” subscription version) and then canceled their account with no refund.
Lauren, a model and escort in New York, told me that she was blocked on her Linktree account between last night and this morning, because her account was active yesterday. There was nothing explicit about her Linktree, she said; it included a link to her website, booking form and links to other sex work platforms like Tryst and Slixa, but also “safe for work” social media accounts including Instagram, Twitter and Cash App.
“He just said my account was blocked due to inappropriate content and it was deleted,” Lauren said. “There was no email from them warning me or telling me what was specifically inappropriate so that I might have the option of removing it. No nothing. Right here one day gone the next day.
Turning a blind eye to sexual content for a while as the platform grows, and then casting the sex workers responsible for the site’s success, has become the modus operandi of many creator-led platforms. . While many platforms and services exclude sex workers, more and more workers are creating their own websites, including link sites whose URLs they own and host themselves, instead of press on third-party platforms that can launch them at any time.
Updated 14/01 4:03 PM with comment from Linktree.