Cloudflare, a leading content delivery and web security company, announced this week it had terminated its content delivery network services for the brand new social media platform for sex workers, Switter.
“Melbourne-based company Assembly Four created Switter after its founders learned that social media platforms were either removing sex workers’ content or banning their accounts.,” The Verge explained. “Without the time or resources to build a whole new network from scratch, the group turned to [social network] Mastodon.”
The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), signed into law by President Donald Trump on April 11, has led to a domino effect in the for of the shuttering of websites where sex workers gather and communicate. Websites fear that they will be prosecuted under the law for “facilitating prostitution” by merely hosting others’ content.
Doug Kramer, Cloudflare’s general counsel, spoke to Motherboard:
“Listen, we’ve been saying this all along and I think people are saying now, this is a very bad law,” Kramer said. “We think, for now, it makes the internet a different place and a little less free today as a result. And there’s a real-world implication of this that people are just starting to grapple with.”
Cloudflare lobbied against FOSTA, but it’s ironic, nonetheless, that while Cloudflare dumped Switter, the company still provides services to ThePirateBay (the largest piracy site in the world) as well as TheFappening.com.
Samantha Cole at Motherboard writes:
“We are worried we won’t be the only casualty in the fight for sex workers’ right to have an online presence, not to mention any other community the US government deems inappropriate,” Lola Hunt, co-founder of Switter, told me after the removal.
After being terminated by Cloudflare, Switter moved to a new content delivery network and remains online.
I never felt more satisfied or optimistic than when I rode the river in my youth.