Facebook and Twitter catch up with old media and advertise prostitutes for sale
IN “Children ‘are put at risk’ as prostitutes use Facebook to sell their wares“, Fiona Hamilton, Murad Ahmed and Billy Kenber tell Times readers of the perils of using Facebook and Twitter:
Prostitutes and escort agencies are openly using Facebook and other social networks to advertise their services and tout for new business.
So..? And what’s that about “wares”? Bit snotty, no? People who sell wares are iffy, shady types. They are selling sex.
Hundreds of unrestricted pages dedicated to the sex trade have been created on social networking sites, fuelling concerns that children are being exposed to explicit content and offers of adult services.
How are these adverts worse than the adverts for a “Hot Quickie”, “Adult Chat” and “Local Birds” that appear in the Sun, the Times’s sister organ, a family newspaper? Rupert Murdoch, who owns both those newspaper titles, also owns Sky TV, where his son James Murdoch presides over the market leader in pay-pornography.
Why is Facebook more dangerous?
In many cases, agencies and individuals have used Facebook and Twitter to post lurid photographs alongside detailed descriptions. These include names, phone numbers, addresses, prices and specific sex acts on offer.
On Page of the Sun who can see a topless stunna every day. Is that lurid? In today’s Sun online, the kids can read:
Alex Gerrard looks a right fright in goth-style nipple-flashing outfit
Well, a Girl’s Aloud… Kimberley Walsh flashes boobs at gig
Rupert Murdoch also owns MySpace (remember that?). In 2009, Wired noted:
Pimps Go Online to Lure Kids Into Prostitution
She was a 16-year-old California girl looking for trouble on MySpace; he was a 22-year-old self-described pimp who liked the revealing photos she posted to her profile. Three weeks after they met on the social networking site, they were arrested together in real life outside a cheap motel in Sacramento, 50 miles from her home. She was turning tricks. On her arm, a fresh tattoo showed bundles of cash and her new acquaintance’s street moniker in 72-point cursive.
Back in the Times:
Yesterday, Facebook removed dozens of pages that appeared to offer sexual services after being alerted by The Times, saying it “has a clear set of rules and these pages broke them”. But the company conceded it could take action only when offensive items were reported by members of the public.
Fair enough. If you are offended, report it and Facebook hits ‘delete’.
The postings were also reported to Twitter, but the microblogging site declined to comment or take action. Under the company’s rules, content would need to be illegal to be considered in breach of its terms and conditions.
Quite right too. No laws broken. New media company behaves like old media company. Plus ca change, as they say in Wapping.
Researchers said that police forces refused to tackle the issue because of a perception that prostitution was a “victimless crime”. But a parliamentary committee on prostitution has pledged to investigate the problem after the revelations.
Prostitution only exists on the web as an aide to masturbation. It is a means for prostitutes to advertise, much like the cards in the newsagent’s window or BT phone boxes.
The researchers said that, in the past, the calling cards of prostitutes had littered the walls of phone boxes, but social networks had become a more common way to attract clients.
You can get nicked for littering by sticking cards in phone boxes – criminal damage if it’s stickers. And who the hell uses a phone box anyhow? Also, the ads in phone boxes feature women and men from porn and fashion mags. They might not be the woman you’re calling. That might not be Madonna on the end of the phone. The internet shows you what the prostitute really looks like, maybe.
“If you want an escort or sex worker in any major city in the world, Facebook is a good place to start your search,” said Mills Kelly, from George Mason University in the US, who has studied the impact of the internet on prostitution.
It’s one of many places. You can find ads for “soapy massages” in AutoTrader, Loot, local newspapers and more. And then – whisper it – search on Google:
Escort agencies have used Facebook pages to offer special deals, such as a competition for a free, one-hour “incall” visit worth £150, and often list body measurements alongside photos of working “models”, with little effort to disguise that they were selling sex. One advert stated: “Bianca can satisfy physically like no other provider can.”
So. The shock is that Facebook is just another way for people to reach their customers.
Several agencies also used Facebook to advertise vacancies for new escorts, who would be “attractive, smart, sexy, and personable females aged 18-35”. They would “earn about £9,000 a month and live in good apartments in Central London”.
Would such an ad turn you onto prostitution? And then this:
Guidance by the Association of Chief Police Officers on policing prostitution recommends that forces monitor personal advertisements in newspapers and on the internet in order to gather intelligence on those who are controlling prostitution.
So. The adverts are useful, then.
One billion people use Facebook worldwide, including about a third of Britons. Facebook’s rules mean that those aged under 13 are not permitted to join, but many young people have found ways to circumvent its controls.
Sure. And how many are becoming prostitutes because of Facebook? Do any become prostitutes after reading kiss ‘n’ tells with “hookers” in the Sun?
PS – If you’re looking for amle hooker, try the Times’s article “Wham bam thank you man - Women are demanding no-strings sex. Where can they get it? Our investigator goes in search of Britain’s hidden male brothels.”
Try the Yellow Pages.