Sex workers are claiming that Twitter, where they have had access to advertising their industry, is cracking down on them and making it far more difficult to ply their trade.
The owner of an industry trade show had her account suspended in December and stated that she contacted Twitter with an appeal but never heard back. She told Rolling Stone, “I wrote that we’ve been a small business for 20 years and losing this account is devastating to my business and my ability to connect with my customers. I was crying. I was so upset.”
Her trade show “isn’t the only adult business that’s been deplatformed by Twitter within the past two months,” Rolling Stone wrote, citing Twitter’s alleged suspension without notice of two other adult content platforms last week — a move that “shocked many in the industry” and prompted “sex workers on social media to panic about losing the one social platform that has openly allowed them for years.”
Corey Silverstein, an attorney who represents various adult industry clients, said, “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing. It’s just been ongoing messages of people being terrified they’re going to lose everything.”
Kat Revenga, the head of marketing and events at one adult content company, said that within the last few days multiple accounts for their companies have been shut down, including Arabic and Russian accounts. “These accounts were used to communicate with models, and to promote their work,” said Revenga. “The people most affected by this are those who use our platforms to build businesses and communicate with fans … this should frighten everyone in [the adult industry].”
A Twitter spokesperson told Rolling Stone that no purge of sex workers had been implemented, asserting, “There have not been changes to our sensitive media policy this year. Per this policy, ‘You can share graphic violence and consensually produced adult content within your Tweets, provided that you mark this media as sensitive.’ We don’t have plans to change our sensitive media policy as it pertains to adult content.”
Amberly Rothfield, an adult-industry consultant, claimed that since the current year began, Twitter has deleted 704 out of 5,000 sex workers’ accounts that she monitors. Since the start of the year, Rothfield found, the deletion of sex workers’ accounts has increased 82%. She found that 34 accounts are removed per day on average.
Silverstein concluded, “I don’t think people really understand that there’s been a massive shift where adult performers are all in business for themselves. They are their own breadwinners. They feed their families and pay their bills based on the followers they have on social media. Now they’re seeing services bumped off the platform, and they’re scared.” He posited that if Twitter makes its restrictions on sexual content harsher, “it is going to cripple these people. They can’t go to Instagram. They can’t go to Facebook. They can’t go to Skype. You’re not leaving them with many alternatives here.”