Sex workers say Reddit is suspending accounts, other users say it’s just spammers

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reddit banning sex workers (1)

Some sex workers have reported having their Reddit accounts limited despite NSFW content being permitted on the platform, sparking fears that Reddit may be becoming less tolerant of explicit content, reversing its historic position on adult content.

An investigation by Rolling Stone found that complaints among sex workers about suspensions seemed to be on the rise. With more social media and other online platforms becoming less tolerant of nudity and other explicit content, the concern that Reddit’s status as one of the last bastions of mainstream online NSFW content is under threat is very real.

However, many Reddit users have complained about sex workers spamming the platform, and suggested that account suspensions were often simply linked to crackdowns on spamming. Reddit says it has not changed its policy on NSFW content.

One Reddit user complained that they were permanently banned from Reddit after posting photos of their feet in foot fetish groups on the site. Another said they were banned after posting NSFW content, despite it being labeled as NSFW.

A Reddit spokesperson told Rolling Stone that as well as not changing its NSFW policy, the platform had not instigated a crackdown on explicit content.

“The fact that sex workers are reporting an uptick [in account suspensions] on Reddit is particularly concerning because it has been one of the last places where this type of content is allowed,” Evan Greer, director of the digital rights organization Fight for the Future, says.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram ban nudity and other explicit content, as well as the promotion of sex work. Twitter still allows this content, so along with Reddit is often used by sex workers for promoting their profiles on other platforms such as OnlyFans and porn camming sites.

With US laws around online porn toughening, and financial organizations such as Mastercard and Visa refusing to work with many porn-related companies, there is a trend towards banning NSFW content on mainstream social platforms.

Some Reddit users pointed out that sex worker spam was a huge problem on the site, and could be the cause of account suspensions. One wrote: “I don’t think users understand how bad the OnlyFans spam actually is and the ironic thing is that it used to be even worse just two years ago.”

Another wrote: “OnlyFans spam is using the site as free advertising. A following or community subreddit [flagged for NSFW content] is one thing, using a sub as a storefront is something altogether different.”

Valerie Webber, a researcher in pornography and sex work, is set to help conduct a survey of sex workers to establish the extent of any profile removal problems.

Meanwhile, recently some users of the popular fetish site FetLife complained that they were being flagged as “commercial” sex workers by the platform.

Following the site updating its user policies in July 2022, some profiles have been flagged as “commercial”, meaning they can be filtered out by users. This caused concern among sex workers using the site, reported Vice.

Read next: UK government takes aim at social media platforms hosting porn

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Jamie F

Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice.

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