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The Difference In Censorship On Facebook And Twitter

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Perhaps this isn’t censorship: in strict terms that refers to what a government insists is allowable or not. But there are indeed considerable differences in the way that Facebook at Twitter police the content on their sites. The difference is most obvious when considering the way in which the sex industry is using both sites:

Sex trade workers have taken to using Facebook and Twitter as a 21st Century phone box by posting calling cards on the networks that show them clearly touting for business.

A Times report found hundreds of public pages being used by prostitutes and escort agencies. In some instances their names, contact details and prices were displayed alongside the type of sex acts they were punting.

In reaction to this Facebook has been pulling down the pages as it finds them. Twitter not so much : As noted by the Times, violations of Twitter’s terms and conditions only apply where the content is found to have been illegal.

It should be noted that this is all about what is going on in England: where the laws on prostitution and the like are slightly confused. It’s entirely legal to offer sex in return for money: the basic act of prostitution. So stating that one does so is not illegal: presumably this can still be done on Twitter if not on Facebook.

However, a brothel is illegal, as is pimping and so is soliciting: that last making it all rather more complicated. For approaching a potential customer with a view to making them a customer is indeed illegal. And the difference between this and advertising can get somewhat blurred.

I have to admit that I prefer the Twitter approach. Not because I actually use it to boost my sex life in between the urgent searches for cat pictures, but because it seems to me to be the adult way of dealing with such things. Some consenting adults like to do things that I don’t like to do. Well, they’ve as much right to use communications systems to get on with their pleasures as I do to use them to get on with mine. That’s rather what a liberal polity means really. The nannying of content that Facebook does seems more suitable for people dealing with children rather than adults.

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