For 11 years, Genesis Lynn, the owner of Fetish Con, an industry trade show for people in the fetish industry, had relied on Twitter. Fetish Con had more than 55,000 followers, and used it to advertise her annual event, as well as new speakers and classes. Last August, after canceling the trade show due to Covid-19, Lynn tweeted a GIF of a woman crying with the caption, “We miss you all more than you know. Stay safe everyone and we’ll see everyone in 2021.” It was her last tweet before she tried to log in in December, and was informed that her account had been suspended.

Lynn was stunned. She’d had her account since August 2009 and its content had never been flagged (with one exception, notes, when when a model who had decided she didn’t want to attend the event wanted a photo taken down). The account didn’t feature any sexual content or nudity; its profile picture was the FetishCon logo, a silhouette of a woman against a blue background, and its header image was a photo of a woman in Mardi Gras regalia with pasties, about on par with your average Instagram influencer’s bikini photo in terms of showing skin. She authored an appeal and sent it into the platform, but never heard back.

“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,” she tells Rolling Stone. “I was crying. I was so upset.” Twitter was Fetish Con’s primary platform for connecting with fans, models, producers, and attendees; the event had grown in attendance every year, largely due to its exposure there. With Covid-19, “it’s been hard for us financially, and this will only hurt us more,” she says.

Fetish Con isn’t the only adult business that’s been deplatformed by Twitter within the past two months. Last week, in a move that shocked many in the industry, the accounts for the adult content platforms Clips4Sale and ModelCentro were suspended from Twitter without notice, prompting sex workers on social media to panic about losing the one social platform that has openly allowed them for years. “This is a full-on assault on sex workers,” one tweet said. Since ModelCentro and Clips4Sale were suspended, “the phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” says Corey Silverstein, a lawyer who represents many adult industry clients. “It’s just been ongoing messages of people being terrified they’re going to lose everything.”

Compared to other social platforms, Twitter has historically been relatively adult-friendly, allowing adult content on its platform where competitors like Instagram and Tumblr have purged such content from their sites. Still, it’s not uncommon for individual sex workers’ accounts to be suspended from large platforms for violating terms of service when users attempt to skirt guidelines about nudity or sexual content. It’s rare, however, for the accounts of large websites like ModelCentro or Clips4Sale to be subject to such treatment.

In a statement, Kat Revenga, the head of marketing and events at FanCentro, which owns ModelCentro, says the platform is “incredibly frustrated” by Twitter’s actions. In addition to ModelCentro being suspended last week, she says the accounts for FanCentro’s Arabic and Russian accounts were suspended as well within the past few days. She says FanCentro has operated accounts like ModelCentro for years virtually without incident, and speculates that the explosion of popularity of platforms like FanCentro and OnlyFans during the pandemic may have prompted Twitter to crack down on adult material, as many adult creators use Twitter to promote such accounts.

“These accounts were used to communicate with models, and to promote their work,” she says. “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].”

In response to a request for comment, a Twitter spokesperson denied that widespread deplatforming of sex workers was taking place. “There have not been changes to our sensitive media policy this year,” they said. “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.”

Read the Full Article Here:

Sex Workers Worry They’re Going to Be Purged From Twitter by Ej Dickson

Feb. 2 2021