LinkedIn’s new terms of service, unveiled on the company’s 10th anniversary, appear to ban escorts and prostitutes from using the popular social networking site. New language, added to the site this week, notes that it is forbidden “Even if it is legal where you are located, [to] create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution.” This is a change from earlier LinkedIn policy, which only forbade advertising unlawful services. Both escort services and prostitution are either legal or decriminalized in several American and European jurisdictions where LinkedIn operates.
Read Write Web’s Owen Thomas, browsing LinkedIn, found several profiles belonging to adult service providers. However, the bulk of LinkedIn users listing prostitution as an endorsable skill are law enforcement officials or clergy who specialize in sex trade investigations or outreach to sex workers.
Lonely businesspeople, of course, have been a longtime source of income for escort services–making LinkedIn a natural choice for networking. But several recent changes to LinkedIn such as rich content on profile pages appear to be steering the company on a more conservative path to social media riches.