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Facebook’s ‘People You May Know’ Feature Is Outing Sex Workers

”The worst nightmare of sex workers is to have your real name out there,“ call girl tells Gizmodo

Facebook’s uncanny ability to connect acquaintances — even when they’d rather not be noticed — is an issue sex workers know all too well, according to a new report from Gizmodo.

It highlights the issue many in the sex industry run into when trying to balance their professional and personal lives. A sex worker who spoke to reporter Kashmir Hill under the pseudonym “Leila” said she goes to great lengths to separate her work account from her private account — with separate emails, phone numbers and names designated to each.

Despite these measures, Leila said she was horrified to see her bland personal profile being recommended to her clients via Facebook’s “People You May Know” feature. She said the violation of privacy went both ways — for her and her customers.

“It’s not just sex workers who are careful to shield their identities,” Leila told Gizmodo.  “The people who hire sex workers are also very concerned with anonymity so they’re using alternative emails and alternative names. And sometimes they have phones that they only use for this, for hiring women. You have two ends of people using heightened security, because neither end wants their identity being revealed. And they’re having their real names connected on Facebook.”

Leila, according to the report, wasn’t the only one outed. Ela Darling, a manager at CAM4, a porn virtual reality site, said she routinely scanned Facebook to make sure her work profile wasn’t being recommended to family members.