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LinkedIn prostitution ban angers legal brothels

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   May 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM   |   Comments

May 15 (UPI) -- Professional networking site LinkedIn updated its privacy policy and user agreement on Monday, adding a clause that bans escorts and prostitutes from marketing themselves and getting professional endorsements on the site.

Although independent sex workers have been affected by the change, the Huffington Post reported Wednesday that Nevada brothel owners are outraged.

According to the terms, "even if it is legal where you are located," users may not create any profiles promoting prostitution or escort services.

Moonlight Bunny Ranch owner Dennis Hof said the new policy is arbitrary, and unfair to businesses operating legally. He says he understands the reason for the new rule, but believes it's too sweeping.

"LinkedIn was enabling illegal prostitution, but they need to go after the sex traffickers and leave us alone," he said. Hof encouraged his legal sex workers to use Twitter to draw attention to LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman and Jeff Wiener.

The brothel business has been hit hard recently, with illegal prostitution rising, a bad economy, and possible industry tax hikes on the horizon.

But Mustang Ranch brothel owner Susan Austin is more cautious. "Social media is a gray area that turns ugly fast," she said. "Advertising is against the state statutes and I wouldn't allow my ladies to advertise in any form."

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