On April 20, as X (formerly Twitter) finally fulfilled its promise to abolish old verified accounts, a spectrum of users began investigating the remaining verified users. From avid Elon Musk supporters to celebrities confused about their status, the landscape was diverse. However, amidst this spectrum emerged a less vocal but significant group: sex workers.
X has historically been one of the more accommodating platforms for sex work. Even in turbulent times, many sex workers continue to support the platform, now through X Premium. This transition has created a new dynamic, with influential accounts like Dril calling for mass suspensions of X Premium subscribers. “As X deteriorates overall, my interactions have declined, but I feel compelled to maintain my verified status,” explains porn actor Vanniall.
Determining the exact number of sex workers on X Premium is challenging, but their presence is undeniable. Many previously part of agencies or studios are solely responsible for client acquisition. Traditional advertising methods such as alt-weeklies or platforms like Backpage.com have disappeared, leaving only a few significant players like Erobella and Ladies.de remaining. In this new reality, social media remains, even though it poses a challenging terrain for explicit content. Platforms like Meta strictly prohibit nudity and graphic material.
Social media sex workers: XXX on X or not?
Nevertheless, X has maintained a relatively open attitude towards adult content. For sex workers like JW Ties and Lyrik Allure, X has become a critical marketing channel, bringing significant traffic to their sites. Beyond marketing, X serves as a platform for community-building, political mobilization against sex work laws, and networking with journalists.
This is where the significance of X Premium lies. This subscription service not only provides better rankings, improved video quality, and enhanced bio links but, more importantly, conveys legitimacy and a sense of security. The payment for the service theoretically reduces the risk of sudden account suspension, a constant concern for sex workers in the digital realm. Allure, who was previously plagued by reports of policy violations, has experienced a more stable account status since joining X Premium. The service also offers protection against impersonation and catfishing, both widespread in the sex worker community.
While some sex workers rely on the security measures of X Premium to guard against scams, persistent scammers still exist. The introduction of the service has made it easier for fans to identify authentic accounts, but it’s not a complete solution. Other platforms, like those of Meta, have introduced similar verification systems, but X remains the preferred choice because it is more adult-friendly.
However, this dependency on X Premium and X also carries risks. Part of X’s appeal lies in its attractiveness to the mainstream, essential for reaching a broad audience. If X loses its overall appeal, this could have profound implications for sex workers.
Currently, sex workers are migrating to X Premium to leverage any possible advantage in an unstable industry. An $8 monthly fee is a minimal investment to maintain traffic and combat fraud. As Stabile from the Free Speech Coalition notes, sex workers have always been incredibly resourceful, and if they see a helpful tool, they will use it.
Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Christopher Isak with Midjourney for TechAcute.