Linktree has kicked-off the new year by kicking a slew of sex workers off its link-collation tool, which had proved an important tool for adult content creators promoting and managing work across a number of different platforms.
On 14 January 2022, some sex workers reported on social media that their Linktree profiles had been removed overnight. Linktree said that the accounts had been banned due to their owners linking adverts for “real-life sexual services” – something that violates the platform’s community standards.
Many adult content creators and sex workers use Linktree to keep track of, and promote, their work links, grouping profiles for sites such as OnlyFans, Twitter, Instagram and Patreon. With some platforms, such as Instagram, having tight rules about linking to other platforms, Linktree often serves as the spine of a sex worker’s business model.
Linktree does not allow sexually explicit material to be hosted on the platform, although explicit material can be linked from it.
Marlene Bonnelly, Linktree’s head of trust and safety at Linktree, told Motherboard that the sex worker profile cull was due to users “sharing a URL which violated community standards by sharing advertisements for the sale of real-life sexual services”. There is no suggestion that Linktree is banning sex workers who have not linked to adverts for real-life sex.
It’s unclear how many accounts were affected, with Linktree saying a “small number” were shut down.
Linktree swooping to ban a bunch of sex worker accounts yet again highlights how unstable much of the online work infrastructure can be for adult content creators.
With large financial organisations such as Mastercard introducing tough new rules for banks working with adult content providers, even sites such as OnlyFans, the success of which was built on the work of explicit content creators, have felt like precarious environments for many.
Following the bans, some former sex worker Linktree users have migrated to rival platforms such as Allmylinks. One Hamburg-based sex worker named Bendix, who made this move, tweeted that “Banning sex workers and adult content is a moral panic”.