Read the full article by Allison Tierney at Vice.com

Sex workers are voicing concerns about increasingly being pushed off social media platforms. Between suspended accounts, suspicions of their accounts experiencing “shadowbans,” and a long-standing unwillingness for platforms to verify sex workers except those who have reached certain levels of fame, some in the industry say they’re feeling unwelcome in spaces they’ve long used to communicate with fans and build their personal brands.

Those in the industry interviewed for this article often pointed to the passing of the controversial US bill FOSTA/SESTA and implications for how sex workers are treated online. Experts say that FOSTA/SESTA, though its intention is to address sex trafficking, also punishes those consensually participating in sex work by censoring them online and generally leading to a less safe environment for them to work in. Other sites that sex workers use, such as review sites and Backpage’s adult services subsection, have been affected, further pushing sex workers off platforms they’ve used online for years.

“All of this removal of us online, it’s only making things more shady for the way we have to eventually do business,” Lotus Lain said. Unwillingness to verify most sex workers’ accounts, too, she said, has long contributed to hindering those in the industry, especially with catfish accounts running scams.

Others, like Hailey Heartless, are concerned that their activism has a correlation with the visibility of their account and content on Twitter’s platform. Heartless is a sex worker activist and a trans rights activist—she said she is “occasionally the target of harassment campaigns from transphobic people.”