Home Industry Market Sex workers, escorts banned from ‘networking’ on LinkedIn

Professional social networking company, LinkedIn has changed its terms of use policy aimed at ensuring sex workers and escort services can no longer advertise or promote their services to the 200-millon plus members of its global network.

A subtle change in wording of the terms of use means that members of the world’s oldest profession can’t advertiser or promote their offerings, even if sex services are legal in the country where they are being promoted, such as here in Australia.

LinkedIn’s previous user agreement prohibited users from taking part in “unlawful” activities which, of course, didn’t sufficiently cover countries like Australia where it is not unlawful to be a prostitute or an escort.

Now, however, LinkedIn has closed the loophole to stop advertising or promotion of sex services on its global network, regardless of whether those services are, in fact, lawful.

LinkedIn says its user agreement has always banned the promotion of escort or prostitution services but, now, it has made a change which makes it clear that its ban applies anywhere, even in countries where these services are legal.

The new user agreement says that you must not: "Create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution even if prostitution is legal where you live.”

Of course, it would be interesting to see if a sex worker, or anyone else involved in the sex industry, in a country like Australia where prostitution is legal, decided to challenge LinkedIn’s ban on the basis of discrimination.

We suspect, however, that LinkedIn’s lawyers have that covered, too, after all there’s not much that hasn’t been tried in the way of litigation in the world’s largest consumer market for everything, including sex services.

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Peter Dinham

 

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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