Read the full article by Julia Margo at XBIZ.com

There are quite a lot of penises in my Twitter timeline. And breasts, and vulvas, and plenty of animated gifs of people having a sexy time together. There are also, if you look in certain places, videos of people punching and kicking each other, pushing others under buses, beating those who can’t fight back, and partaking in various other violent acts. Why did I put these things in the same paragraph? What has consensual sexual activity got to do with non-consensual acts of violence? According to Twitter, everything.

This week, I was alerted by XBIZ to the updated Twitter terms of service — specifically those on “sensitive content,” which are causing justified concern for adult performers and businesses.

The terms have a few fairly sensible rules, such as “mark your media as sensitive if you frequently post nudes,” but these are mixed in with a lot of other rules that are downright prudish and harmful.

Broadly, the concern from sex workers, adult performers, sex educators and people like me who work for sex toy companies, is that the new rules effectively lay the groundwork for being able to ban any “adult” content from Twitter’s platform.

Like many other large tech companies, Twitter began by welcoming us and allowing us to use their space for free expression. This is how it always begins. Those of us who are banned from other places find new outlets for sexual freedom, and we use those platforms to promote our work — whether it’s sharing porn videos, tackling stigmas surrounding sex and masturbation, finding customers for sexual goods and services, or all of the above. But once the platform grows beyond a certain size, suddenly concerns about “brand” start to seep in: “There’s porn on Twitter!” people shout, “won’t someone think of the children?” And before long, the platform starts to crack down on those whose content might be seen as “inappropriate” for younger users.

The reason I wanted to highlight the absurdity of Twitter lumping sex and violence together is because we in the sex industry are used to understanding our work in the context of consent. Consent is key. So when we see consensual sex and non-consensual violence thrown into the same bucket, quite rightly we get angry. While we can probably all agree that these definitely count as “adult content” — I wouldn’t want my young children consuming either of these videos early in their lives, without appropriate context and education — it’s clear that sex and violence sit in very different places on the “adult content” spectrum.