New META Verification Process Puts SWers at Risk

Apr 28, 2023

As social media becomes an increasingly important platform for sex workers, they are facing a new challenge from META, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram. META’s new verification process requires users to display their full legal names in order to get verified, putting sex workers at risk of doxxing themselves.

Verification on social media helps boost engagement and subsequently brings in more money for online sex workers. However, the new verification process at META makes users provide their government name, which is then displayed on their profile. Both the sex work and trans community are concerned by this, as they often use stage names to protect themselves from stalking and violence.

Needing an ID to verify it’s not an impersonator/catfish is one thing, but having the name from that ID displayed on your profile seems unnecessary at best. ID verification feels like a slippery slope to sex workers, who are far too familiar with censorship, surveillance, and policing. This feels like a “sex workers told you so” waiting to happen.

For sex workers, privacy is crucial. They often use pseudonyms to separate their work from their personal lives and to avoid being identified by clients or people who may harm them. Having their legal names displayed on their profiles puts them at risk of being doxxed and harassed by clients, stalkers, or even law enforcement.

Moreover, many sex workers are trans or gender non-conforming, and being forced to display their legal names can expose them to discrimination and harassment. Trans people often face violence and discrimination in their daily lives, and having their government names displayed on social media only adds to their vulnerability.

The new META verification process is not just problematic for sex workers and trans people, but for anyone who values online privacy. By requiring users to display their legal names, META is infringing on their right to choose how they present themselves online. Users should have the right to decide what information they share with the world, especially when it comes to sensitive personal information like their legal names.

It’s important to note that sex work is a valid and legitimate profession, and sex workers have the right to work safely and without fear of violence or harassment. META’s new verification process puts them at risk and goes against their right to privacy and safety.