Link-sharing service Linktree suddenly blocks sex workers

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 15, 2022
Updated 2022/01/15 at 12:23 PM

Yet another service kicked sex workers off their platform. According Motherboard, Linktree, a tool that allows you to share multiple links with a URL online, has given sex workers an outing overnight and without warning. Banned users have taken to social networks like Twitter to announce that their accounts have been banned “for inappropriate use” and have not even received an email or any kind of warning about it. Some were charged for the service, which costs $9 a month for the Pro tier, but were not refunded when the account was cancelled.

Marlene Bonnelly, Linktree’s head of trust and security, told the publication that accounts that were banned shared a URL that violated their community standards. Bonnelly’s statement reads:

“Per our company’s policies, the banned Linktree accounts resulted from sharing a URL that violated community standards when sharing ads for the sale of real-life sexual services.”

Sex workers make use of tools like Linktree because some platforms don’t allow direct links to adult sites like OnlyFans. Perhaps more importantly, they have to diversify their use of multiple sites because they will never know when a service will suddenly decide to ban adult content.

Financial services like PayPal, Visa and MasterCard have long been known to close the accounts of people in the sex business. Patreon banned content of a sexual nature in 2017, and the number of services that decided not to host sex workers and their content has only grown since the US government approved FOSTA-SESTA a few years ago. Even OnlyFans, which has become synonymous with adult content, tried to ban “sexually explicit conduct” in 2021 until it suspended its planned policy change.

Linktree’s Terms of Service state that a user must not “include any sexually explicit material (including images and language) on their own page or in their own account”. However, it is vague and not entirely clear whether links to sites like OnlyFans have always been against their rules. It’s also unclear why Linktree suddenly started banning sex workers when they’ve been using the service with no problems for some time now, but people in the sex business might want to find another link-sharing tool they can use.

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