Most of the changes are simplification of the legalese. But one in particular caught our eye. According to LinkedIn, thou shalt not:
i. Even if it is legal where you are located, create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution.
What surprised us was that this was even necessary. On a site where every action you take is tied to your professional identity, would anyone really take the risk of advertising adult services?
Apparently, yes. Prostitution, in fact, is a skill for which you can get endorsed on LinkedIn. (Many self-identified experts on the topic work in law enforcement or religious ministries, suggesting that their experience is with catching or counseling offenders rather than offering such services.)
Judging by the suggestions LinkedIn's search algorithm offers, LinkedIn members are actively looking for this kind of professional help. Search on "escorts," for example, and LinkedIn will prompt you to search instead for the following terms:
- female escorts
- independent escorts
- call girls
- hot girls
- adult entertainment
- escort services
- dubai escorts
This ban is not completely new. LinkedIn previously forbade advertising "unlawful" services. However, prostitution is legal in some European countries and parts of the United States, and escort services fall into a legal gray area in many jurisdictions.
The clarification appears necessary, as some LinkedIn members appear to have been skirting the older terms to offer risqué business. For instance, check out this profile, which we've redacted just a bit:
Lead image via Flickr user Bruce Tuten, CC 2.0