“Why are Tumblr and Facebook cracking down on sex so much? And why is Facebook in so over zealous about it? It’s all Apples fault!” Etc etc I can explain all. It is largely the fault of a set of US laws called SESTA and FOSTA.
Here’s an article about them, but in short these laws make websites responsible for third party content related to sex work. They can be sued for having full service sex work ads on their platforms EVEN IF THEY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT
I’ll get to Tumblr and Facebook but first just lemme take a second to tell you these laws don’t do what they’re designed to do. They don’t stop trafficking, they actually make it harder to find victims. Turns out the easiest way to find victims is online.
Also turns out if you remove sites used to screen clients, pimps spring up offering safe client lists. Removing advertising also forces sex workers out onto street corners
These laws were passed in April and we saw a lot of sites disappear overnight. So why are Tumblr and Facebook acting now?
They come into force January 2018. Next month any website with a US presence can be sued if it allows, even unknowingly, sexual solicitation.
To my mind, Tumblr saw Apple removing the Tumblr app from their store and went “eh, we needed to ban porn anyway, we’ll just act early”
Their algorithm sucks because training an algorithm to spot lewd content is incredibly difficult.
Facebook yesterday announced its policy on sexual solicitation. Which is ludicrously overzealous, bans the discussion of anything related to sex, including incredibly vague language like “I’m looking for a good time tonight”
The reason they’re so overzealous isn’t because they’re screaming “somebody think of the children”
It’s because if they miss one ad, they can be sued. They know algorithms for this suck, so they’ve decided to overcompensate for that and effectively ban talking about sex.
These laws come into force next month. At that time I expect twitter to also crack down on sex work. I don’t expect we’ll be warned, twitter will just remove our accounts overnight.
“Why don’t you start your own website, you aren’t US based, just do that”
There are a myriad of reasons I can’t do that,
\1. Age verification laws are going to happen soon here and I can’t afford to pay for that software
\2. The UK gov is considering our own Sesta/Fosta laws.
Sesta/Fosta is an attempt to limit not only sex work, but queer expression online. Queer relationships are seen as inherently sexual to some. We need to be fighting this, because it’s not just a stick to hit sex workers with.
To my mind these laws were always about stopping consensual sex work, whilst also punching at queer people, and sexual expression. This is a censorship bill.
Yell at your elected representatives America. Make them realise what this is, because it was sold on stopping sex trafficking. The optics on it were so good that all the democrats voted for it too. Liberals are just as much at fault here.
I know there is a lot happening, and it’s hard to keep up with it all, but this is important. Sesta/Fosta needs to be repealed