Tag Archives: culture

Shadowbanned On Twitter? What You Need To Know

With the recent changes to Twitter policies, more and more folks are concerned about the so-called shadowbanning. Shadowbanning, also known as stealth banning or ghosting, is when your tweets are hidden from conversations aka hashtag searches. In other words, your Twitter account is visible, all the tweets can be seen – except when a person clicks a hashtag and your tweet (including the hash, of course) is not to be found. Similarly, your tweets will not show up in threads and conversations. All of this naturally neutralizes your ability to be found and therefore participate in conversations.

Other nasty side effects of being shadowbanned include not having notifications of your @ mentions delivered to the account you mention, your own account not showing up in searches for it, and your most recent images not being shown in the most recent grid, etc..

It should be noted that Twitter is not the only social media site or digital community to use shadowbanning; it’s just that Twitter has been the largest social media site remaining open to adult folks, so its shadowbanning impacts us the most.

Shadowbanning has a long history of use. Originally, it was used in online communities to keep spammers at bay — without tipping them off that they were being subtly blocked. It is designed to ban the comments of specific users whilst keeping the user ignorant that they have been banned.

Since shadowbanning is designed to keep the banned in the shadows of knowledge, not even knowing they have been so banned, you might have to use a tool to discover it for yourself. Here’s a free way to do that.

How does shadowbanning happen?

It appears one of the primary ways your tweets can be shadowbanned are the dreaded sending of “reports” of tweets. While based on user reports, Twitter then uses artificial intelligence (AI) to attempt to discern things, such as mature or controversial topics, which get other users to report, mute, or block an account.

It’s important to note that there’s no human judgment made here. Hence the additional concerns with new Twitter policies regarding sex. As noted at YNOT:

The sections dealing with non-consensual nudity and unwanted sexual advances may be the most relevant to the adult entertainment industry. As Starr himself admitted in the email, entire porn genres are dedicated to non-consent and stalker fantasies. Nevertheless, Twitter has expanded its definition of non-consensual nudity “to more broadly include content like upskirt imagery, ‘creep shots,’ and hidden camera content,” Starr wrote.

“We will immediately and permanently suspend any account we identify as the original poster/source of non-consensual nudity and/or if a user makes it clear they are intentionally posting said content to harass their target,” Starr stated in the email. “We will do a full account review whenever we receive a Tweet-level report about non-consensual nudity. If the account appears to be dedicated to posting non-consensual nudity then we will suspend the entire account immediately.”

Starr also noted it’s nearly impossible for Twitter to distinguish between real and faux non-consensual nudity, so “[w]e would rather error [sic] on the side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it.”

In a departure from previous policy, Twitter’s safety team will not require a report from an alleged victim before suspending an account for non-consensual content. Adult industry companies that produce non-consent fantasy material need to be aware the proposed new policy could be weaponized by anti-porn activists, competitors, dissatisfied customers and people who simply enjoy creating drama.

These new policies are ambiguous and subjective enough — without trading human involvement for AI. Yet, even if your account is not shut down for dealing with such (or similar) fantasy material, reports (complaints) — especially multiple reports — could lead to your account being shadowbanned. And since the act of shadowbanning users is to keep them in the dark about it, Twitter offers no official help.

Shadow banning, it should be noted, happens to mainstream folks too. And it’s here that we may find the solution to shadowbanning on Twitter. Tania (of When Tania Talks) reports on a tip from Milly (of Mini Adventures) that seems to work:

So what was this genius idea? Well, apparently the world revolves around money. Milly found that by contacting the Twitter Ads team and suggesting that she wanted to place an ad, but her hashtags weren’t working resulted in her Twitter shadowban being lifted. This was done within two hours of contacting the Twitter Ads team.

Apparently, just asking about the situation — not actually paying for ads — works. (Though, if you are shadowbanned, even paying for ads might be a worthy solution!) Though it should be noted that many adult accounts won’t be able to buy Twitter ads, if you’re stuck in shadowbanned land on Twitter it may be worth giving this a try. (At least you could open a dialogue.)

All of this shadowbanning — and general signs of the pornocalypse — is just additional proof to me that one needs a website of their very own. Yes, participate on other sites, playing by their rules. But never be entirely dependant on the practices, policies, and whims of another site.

Important! More NiteFlirt Policy Changes

I tweeted about this earlier today; but if you PSOs (“Flirts”) logged in at NF today, you likely saw this notice about changes in terms of service (TOS) policies at the phone sex platform site:

Please note that NiteFlirt does not permit the following content:
Explicit or suggested willingness to violate NiteFlirt’s policies such as “no taboos” and “no limits”
Non-consensual content
Blood play
Needle play
Knife play
Abduction fantasies
Forced intoxication

Please remove any content relating to these topics before next Monday. On Tuesday, February 28, we will be removing all listings, profiles, and Goody Bags containing this content.
For more about NiteFlirt’s policies, see Play Fair Basics. Please join us in the forums for more information if you have comments and questions.

Annoyingly, the link to the forum link doesn’t really work; like most direct links to any forum post, you get bounced to the main forum page & have to search or scroll for it. Thankfully, it is a “starred” or “pinned” thread, entitled “Policy Changes – Please read!”.

The main post is as follows:

As of today, NiteFlirt will no longer permit the following:

  • Explicit or suggested willingness to violate NiteFlirt’s policies such as “no taboos,” “no restrictions,” and “no limits”
  • Non-consensual content
  • Blood play
  • Needle play
  • Knife play
  • Abduction fantasies
  • Forced intoxication

If you have any content relating to these topics we ask that you please remove it before Tuesday, Feb. 28. On Tuesday, we will unaccept all listings, profiles, and Goody Bags containing this content.

You’ll note we are prohibiting the popular terminology of “no taboos.” As many of you have pointed out, “no taboos” suggests that a Flirt is willing to violate our policies and therefore engage in content we do not permit (even if that is often not the intent). By prohibiting this content, and other content that suggests you are willing to circumvent our policies, we make great strides in ensuring NiteFlirt remains a safe place for you to run your business and we minimize the requests for prohibited content that you receive from customers.

In that vein, we are also changing the “Anything Goes” category name to “Extra Kinky.” You will see this change in the coming days.

This begs a very obvious question, “Why?” As you may already be aware, FetLife was hit with a huge blow a few weeks ago and are currently unable to process credit cards (you can read more about that here). In order to protect NiteFlirt, our Flirts, and our community as a whole, we have reevaluated our policies and decided to make some changes.

We are happy to engage in a discussion regarding this change, however we ask that you leave politics out of the discussion and remain respectful towards us and your fellow Flirts. While it’s hard to ignore the role that politics plays, let’s make our moms happy and not discuss politics at the dinner table. In addition, we will not comment on the situation at Fetlife or the decisions they have made.

Because tweets, replies, and such can be difficult to follow, I will repeat some tweets with key points in this post — with links to tweets in case you wish to share/participate on Twitter. While I am quickly posting this news regarding NF, I am not part of the company itself; these opinions are my own. And I do recommend logging in and reading the entire forum thread, as Erin is replying to specific questions (along with referring folks to have their profiles, listings, goody items, etc. reviewed by Play Fair).

These changes, as noted, are based largely on what happened at FetLife regarding their credit card processing. As we know, the limits credit card processing companies, merchant accounts, and other financial institutions place on sex workers and the adult industry at large are bullshit creations of censorship and proof of the Pornocalypse. I obviously do not like it; but this is a fact of life & livelihood we have to deal with.

[Unlike NF, I don’t mind political talk; my parents encouraged political talk at the table. However, I just don’t have the time to rant today (I am barely fitting this post in as it is!) So feel free to comment here, on Twitter, etc. regarding the politics an culture of discrimination.]

The main point here is to address issues of consent. I know it’s particularly silly when this is fantasy talk between consenting partners, a caller and a phone sex operator. But people (in this case, financial institutions) still don’t get how this works. So they try to protect and manage things for us.

[And here I will take a moment to rant. Note that already in the terms of service at NF, one cannot discuss sexual bondage without making it clear that at least one of the submissive’s limbs is not bound. See, there’s to be “no penetration with all four limbs bound.” Which is not only an affront to those of us with rape fantasies, but an insult to those of us who are rape survivors by acting as if one limb was free — or we were not bound at all — we were not really raped!]

But back to the issue at hand here.

NF now instructs all Flirts to remove any references to any abduction or rape fantasies. From the further discussion on the forum, it seems an any forced or coerced scenes, especially those involving penetration are now forbidden. This includes oral penetration, as in “forced intoxication.” However, currently, “forced bi” or “forced feminization” are allowed (apparently as it is seen as “dressing” and role play, not penetration).

Also included in this TOS revision, are matters of skin penetration — including fantasies involving castration, knife & needle play, and any blood play. However, none of this is new as all of it, including menstrual play, has always been off limits.

What is new, is that castration appears prohibited; even if the chemical kind. (Again, this is all fantasy play — no one, no matter how much he begs, actually is castrated. But, it’s thought-police time.)

In order to address the perception that the phrases “no taboos,” “no limits,” “anything goes,” and the like are communicating that PSOs are tossing aside TOS, NF is banning such phases and, presumably, their derivatives. Also, NF is changing the “Anything Goes” category name to “Extra Kinky.” It must be pointed out that “Anything Goes” is currently both a NF category and an NF subcategory; yet it is unclear at this time if this change will affect both the category and the subcategory. [Here, I could get lost in the whole general oddness of NF’s categories… But I won’t.] What matters to Flirts & callers alike is the fact that any properly edited listings in “Anything Goes” will supposedly be automatically changed to the new “Extra Kinky” title — and links to those listings will not be lost. (One assumes hopes this will be done in both the category and the subcategory and via proper redirection. Also, that it will also work seamlessly with the affiliate program.)

What happens if your profile, listing, Goodie, etc. is not properly edited to address these announced changes? They will be marked “unaccepted,” and, like the last time we went through this, using the “red thumbs down icon.” If this is truly how NF proceeds, your listings, at least, can still be found if clients have bookmarked them or have come to them via a direct link on a website, tweet, etc. (Which is, again, why I am always pushing you to have your own website; for clients to bookmark them.) If callers know and dial your direct extension number, lines should also work.

As I said on Twitter, it should be noted that callers will not see any such notice when they login. Nor has the official NF Twitter posted a damn thing about this. Which means, once again, NF is relying on PSOs to communicate the issue & placate customers. This is unfortunate. But savvy Flirts will be on this, ready to address client concerns; even if NF isn’t.

Again, I strongly urge any PSOs using NF to read in the forum, then appraise their profiles, listings, goodies, etc. and edit as necessary. For those who have NF compliant blogs & websites, you’ll likely need to scour and edit them as well. And to do so asap! The cut off date is Tuesday, February 28, 2017; which means Play Fair is going to be very busy, so get in line with any questions right now.

What Influences Phone Sex Caller Decisions?

As The Wall Street Journal reports, “Media consumption habits continue to shift rapidly, with mobile devices, social media, streaming services, and binge-watching redefining the landscape.”

That’s not likely earth-shattering news to you; but what is interesting about Deloitte’s Digital Democracy Survey are the insights you can put to use in terms of marketing your phone sex business. Particularly the fact that for millennials (ages 19-32) recommendations from their social media circle and online reviews now carry more weight than TV advertising.

Most of us cannot afford TV ads anyway. But look at what holds spots #3 & #4 — those are things you can use and leverage! These findings were also seen in the phone sex caller survey results.

According to my phone sex caller survey, phone sex callers most definitely do not make phone sex recommendations to their family & friends. And adult services are definitely limited in terms of what social media can be used. However, you can make the most of client feedback (and phone sex review sites).

While some platform sites, like NF, do not allow you to post or share member names, you can still refer callers & potential callers to your feedback pages via links. If you are lucky enough to have actual clients using social media, they can share their reviews of you — and you can then share them yourself. And you can use good old fashioned testimonials on your phone sex website too.

Call For Interviews: Phone Sex Operators With Disabilities

I’ve been contacted by a reporter for an online publication (with a million monthly readers) who is interested in doing a news story about people with disabilities working as phone sex operators. He is looking to interview PSOs who have physical or mental disabilities for this article.

Because I not only have excellent oral skills, but have rather astonishing auditory skills which help me read between both spoken and unspoken lines, I talked with the writer on the telephone. My own interview assessment, and some research, assures me of the following:

  • He & his publication are legitimate
  • This author’s intent is to be respectful regarding disability issues.
  • This author is sex positive, sensitive to sex workers issues; this will not be a sex worker bashing piece.
  • He will not out anyone by real name or professional name without consent.

I know many of you have or have had some physical or mental health issues, however temporary, and therefore have entered this industry because of the flexibility it offers in terms of scheduling, the benefits of no transportation needed, comfort of working from home, etc.. But I also know many of you do not wish to make your personal health situation(s) public, or to out your phone sex character(s) as having any health issues. Which is why your ability to take part as an anonymous source is so important.

Yet, unless you are willing to share and make public your professional phone sex operator name, this interview is not exactly a promotional opportunity for your phone sex business. (Note: If you are already out about your phone sex work and disability, by all means, use this press to promote yourself!)

However, it is important to note that even as an anonymous source, this is a chance to educate others and to promote sex work in a positive manner. I think this is very important, not only to perhaps help those with disabilities to discover that they can create economic safety and security for themselves via phone sex work, but for the public at large to learn that sex work is work — and respectable work at that.

Interviews can be on the phone, via Skype, or via email, depending upon your needs.

If you are interested in sharing your story, please email me directly at PhonSexSecrets@gmail.com putting “PSOs with Disabilities” in the subject line (I thank you in advance for the courtesy of doing that — it helps me keep on top of things!) and I will put interview candidates in touch with the reporter.

While there is no immediate deadline, obviously the sooner you make contact the better.

Don’t Give Into Stupid Demands

Is this your first time here? You may wish to read this post and my Statement Of Purpose first!

Every few months or so I get emails from consult clients about whether or not they should accept PayPal for calls or other services. So when Emma Evans posted this tweet, I was reminded that I should make a post about this I can send folks to as a reference.

As Evans states, making such moves puts you at risk of being booted from the platform site(s) you use. I’m not joking. Even mentioning at NiteFlirt, for example, other platform sites you use can get you banned for going against Terms Of Service (TOS). So even if your client, however softly, threatens that you’ll lose them if you don’t accommodate their request, you have to ask yourself if being blacklisted at the platform you work at is worth the discussion.

Aside from this practicality, there are other issues.

Even if the offer comes to you via another source, say direct email, contact off your website, Twitter, etc., there’s just no reason to take payments for services outside the phone sex platform site. (This includes clips sites, cam sites, etc.)

One of the number one “requested payment option” sites is PayPal. This should never, ever, be considered. It’s not safe (for either party) as A) no adult services or products are allowed to be sold there, B) personal info is shared, and C) PayPal is not a bank, so they can – and do – freeze accounts and pull funds. (Even if there is, as I tweeted, a class-action lawsuit settlement offering some compensation for those who have suffered through this, it is not commensurate with what all can be lost.) Much of this is true for other online payment processing options. Here I refer you to Sex Work Helpfuls who does a good job of staying up to date on payment options. (See also.)

However, there is much more to consider.

From an ethical and legal point of view, none of these options provides the protection that you are working with a legal adult. It is not worth risking all the potential woes of talking about mature subject matter with minors. Part of what your fees at the platform sites cover is making sure callers and clients are of legal age to participate in such things. Leave those platforms, and you risk much more than your banking problems.

Last, but certainly not least, why would you consider switching platforms? What is the upside, really?

Oh, sure, some of the clients suggesting other options will kindly tell you how they are thinking of you — how you won’t be “giving away” such a large percentage of your money via platform fees. But then these same callers will begin to suggest or even demand that you lower rates because of that. They did you a favor; now do them one. And then they have a million other requests or demands…

Once you acquiesce to one request or demand, how can you stand firm on the next?

Clients who whine, bully, and threaten are not worth keeping. There is always the next boundary they wish to pass.

It doesn’t matter if the client’s request or demand is against TOS or your own personal boundaries, you have the right to refuse. Breaking the rules includes breaking your own rules.

How do you best handle clients who wish to break the rules? Femdommes often have it easier, of course, as they can simply order subs to stop. But here are the five steps I employ with renegade clients:

1) Redirect. Like small children, many clients can easily be brought back to the proper path of behavior with a simple redirect. With toddlers you can jangle a ring of keys or swing a shiny or bright toy; with callers, verbally dangle your breasts, mention their fetish, etc.

2) Gently remind. A simple, but firm, “That’s not allowed!” or “Oh, I don’t think so!” combined with a giggle often works wonders. Then feel free to resume the story or conversation as it was before the inappropriate interruption.

3) Remind more strongly. Firmly state, “No, I’m not going to do that.” Pushier clients may need a, “We’ve discussed that before, and that’s not an option.” If you’d like, think of this as a courtroom scene and you’re the lawyer saying, “Asked and answered. We’re moving on.” Once the message has been received, resume play.

4) Put your foot down. Firmly state that their request is making you uncomfortable — and that if they persist you will be ending the call or communication.  If/when they accept the rules, get back on track with a, “Now, where were we…”

5) Protect yourself. Hang up, block, and even report the caller as you deem appropriate.

If there’s one thing you can count on in phone sex (or any sex work, for that matter) is that sooner or later you’re going to run into clients who want to get discounted or free services, or otherwise push your limits. It’s rather a small percentage of clients; but the longer you are in business, the more likely you are to run into these guys. Know your own boundaries. Firmly set them. And don’t let anyone push past them.

What You Can Learn About Culture From Sex & Sex Work

I was showing a PSO client how to use Google Trends yesterday when I spotted an interesting trend…

Question: According to Google, what region of the world has the highest probability of searching for femdom?

Answer: Syria.

(Click images for larger views.)

phonesexfemdomsyria

Not only has there been a growing interest in female domination services, but the increase in such Syrian searches appears to align with rise of the Syrian conflict or Syrian Civil War which began in 2011 with the Arab Spring protests.

Also, this fetish interest has sharply increased — some might even say it has “spiked” — in recent weeks. In fact, a closer look shows that Syria has a lot of related femdom searches — including a number of “Breakout” search terms, such as for feet, fetish, etc. In case you don’t know what “Breakout” means, it is defined by Google as a search term which grew by more than 5000%. Yes, 5000%!

syriafemdomfetish

Part of me wants to go down a deep rabbit hole and research the possible causes and connections. But that’s time, and time is money. So I’m just going to go with what I know about human sexuality and sex work in general:

1.) When human beings are stressed, there is a strong increase in sex drives especially in terms of desires of the kinky and taboo kind. (And what can be more taboo in a culture that demands women submit to men than femdommes?)

2.) Those professing extreme conservatism, be it religious or political, are often doing so to suppress their own taboo urges. (Can you say, “hypocrites”?)

If you, like I, are seeing an increase in such international callers (often most visible to me in the demand for all sorts of religious humiliation sex game requests), this may explain it.

News & Links Phone Sex Operators Can Use

Last week at Sex Kitten, Gracie interviewed Tom Cat about the new phone sex review website. It’s a great look not only at the man behind the site, but about phone sex mega users.

While you’re there, you may want to check out another one of Gracie’s articles, Of Feminism & Inequality In Porn & Sex Work. Yes, phone sex operators are sex workers. Beyond that, there may be some clear answers for those who wonder why there are so few opportunities for male PSOs to work with female callers.