I always thought that Facebook was the social network for "fun stuff," while LinkedIn was the social network for "work stuff." I guess I need to change my definition of "work stuff." LinkedIn has just singled out escorts as specifically unwelcome on their platform, and changed their terms of service to banish users promoting sex in exchange for money.
To all you sex workers out there (I'm told you prefer the term "sex worker"!), be aware that this is not an overall ban on promotion of adult services on the LinkedIn platform. You can still promote yourself as a porn star or fetish model on LinkedIn, and it would still be legal and compliant with the updated LinkedIn terms of service. But you can no longer promote "escort services or prostitution" on your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn updated their terms of service to ban escort services on Monday. (You have to scroll two-thirds of the way down the page to get to the juicy part). In Section 10 of the terms, entitled LinkedIn "DOs" and “DON’Ts," the policy has been revised to state that LinkedIn users cannot "upload, post, email, InMail, transmit or otherwise make available or initiate any content that...promotes escort services or prostitution" -- "[e]ven if it is legal where you are located."
There's the rub. Sex work and escort services are legal in several countries -- and some parts of the United States, if I'm to believe the little cards that cab drivers hand me whenever I'm in Las Vegas.
Mashable reached out to LinkedIn for an explanation of why escorts can't use LinkedIn even if they live in a place where such hanky-panky is perfectly legal. "In the old [user agreement], we had it covered by saying that one could not use a profile to promote anything 'unlawful,'" the rep told Mashable. "However, in some countries, that activity actually is lawful."
LinkedIn apparently feels they have some legal exposure by promoting sex-for-pay in locations where it is illegal. You can, however, still use LinkedIn to promote yourself as a porn star, sex toy proprietor or tantric sex coach.
Oddly, "Prostitution" is still listed as a professional skill on LinkedIn. But the individuals listed as "Prostitution Professionals" seem to be there as a result of some back-end coding error, not because they perform actual sex work. Particularly the one whose job title is listed as "Founder at Restoration Ministries."