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LinkedIn bans prostitution and escort services

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 Social job-networking site Linkedin updated its privacy policy and user agreement terms Monday to ban the promotion of escort services and prostitution. (iStock)Over 200 million people across the globe use LinkedIn to make career connections, but it would appear as though members of at least one profession - the world's oldest, as it's often called -- are less than welcome.

Many were surprised Monday to learn that Linkedin had updated its user agreement terms, explicitly disallowing the promotion of prostitution with the following clause:

i. Even if it is legal where you are located, [do not] create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution.
It wasn't the ban itself that caused a ruckus, so much as the question "are there actually prostitutes on LinkedIn?"

Apparently, yes. Many.

A quick search for the term "escort" returns thousands of legitimate results (mixed in with profiles that simply contain the verb "escort.")


"Prostitute" returns far less however, and most of these profiles include writers, researchers and actors who have portrayed one professionally.

Similarly, while prostitution is an endorsable "skill" on LinkedIn, many of those who are identified as experts fall into the fields of law enforcement, counseling or religious ministries, suggesting that they specialize in working with - not as - prostitutes.

The social networking juggernaut has not officially commented on its new privacy policy or user agreement but as ReadWriteWeb notes, the ban isn't entire out of left field.

LinkedIn already forbids the advertising of "unlawful" services, and while escorts are legal or in a gray area in many jurisdictions, prostitution is against the law in Calfornia, where the company is based.

And, if the amount of real life sex workers that can be seen using other social networking platforms to advertise is any indication, there may be a need for the written ban.

"I have a Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, I have two websites, and I have Google Voice," said sex worker and activist Siouxsie Q. to CNN last month in a piece about High-tech sex workers in Silicon Valley.

Another escort called Kitty Stryker expressed a smiliar sentiment: "Everything I know about social media marketing I learned doing sex work."

Have you ever noticed an illegal or unusual service being advertised on LinkedIn or another social network? Share your stories below.

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