The Online Economy Is Breaking Businesses, and Stealing Our Time and Energy
It's harder for most people to making a living now than it was before the rise of online businesses like Facebook and Amazon. That's because the digital economy is hurting the real economy.
Douglas Rushkoff is the host of the Team Human podcast and a professor of digital economics at CUNY/Queens. He is also the author of a dozen bestselling books on media, technology, and culture, including, Present Shock, Program or Be Programmed, Media Virus, and Team Human, the last of which is his latest work.
Douglas Rushkoff: The digital economy is breaking things because most people running digital companies aren't aware of the operating system that's beneath what they're doing. There's a good old fashion venture capital driven operating system. It goes back to central currency and corporatism and chartered monopolies and really the way our economy works, which has worked for a good 400 or 500 years and promoted everything from the British East India Trading Company right through to Walmart and General Electric. But when you take that and juice it up with digital steroids, weird things start to happen. You end up able to tweak and optimize your business so carefully that you can really see is a growing? Is it not growing? What can we do to promote growth? Growth. Growth. And if your company is not growing you end up in big trouble against all the other players that are growing.
It's simple power law dynamics. It's a winner takes all landscape. So if you have a company like Twitter, which I would see in my old fashion view as a successful company. It makes $500 million a quarter based on 140-character app. Success, right? No. In the current environment that's a failure because they don't have a growth strategy. They don't know how to turn into a video company, a news company, a social company, an everything company. And the reason why the digital economy is breaking our businesses is because we're taking the old agenda of growth and running it on digital platforms and it ends up amplifying and spinning this priority out of control.
Most of us look at the industrial age as this natural outgrowth of the need to do more and better business. But as I researched it I found out that most of the innovations we came up with in the industrial age were really for the opposite. There was a thriving peer to peer economy right at the end of the Middle Ages that nobody likes to talk about. The soldiers had come back from the Crusades. They had all sorts of new inventions and technologies and mechanisms; there were new trade routes that they had opened up. And they had came back to their towns and they took something that they found in the Middle East called the bazaar and they revived it as something they called the marketplace. So now people who had just been peasants working on the land of the Lords started coming together and trading this stuff that they made. And they had all of these really interesting instruments from market money and local currency and grain-based currency and all of these evolved really to promote the exchange of value and the velocity of transactions between people.
And it started to really do well, which was the problem. As the peasants became wealthy the aristocracy got scared, who are these people? They're not going to be dependent on us any more. So they came up with two main financial innovations to prevent the rise of this peer to peer economy. The first one was the chartered monopoly, really the parent to the modern corporation. All the chartered monopoly was was a way to say all of you small businesses are now illegal. If you want to be in the shoe business you have to work for his majesty's royal shoe company. You want to be in the grain business you have to work for his majesty's royal grain company. So people who were small business people now became employees. Instead of selling the value they created, now they sold their time as servants, as wage laborers.
The second invention they came up with was central currency. Not such a terrible thing in itself. It's great to have a long distance currency that lots of people can use and value, but the problem was they made all of the local currencies illegal. So the only way people could trade with each other, the candlestick maker could trade with the chicken farmer was by borrowing central currency from the treasury. So now you had to borrow money at interest just in order to transact. And that set in motion really a growth cascade. If you have a currency that has to be paid back with interest, in order to just make end meet you need an economy that's growing. You need more money next year than there was this year.
So that worked well for colonial powers, as long as we could extend into Africa and South America and North America, find slaves, find new resources, we could grow. But what happens when you reach the end of the planet's growth as we did really at the end of World War II? Then we started to look for really virtual surface area, some new way to grow. And that was the technology. We believed that digital technology and the World Wide Web and computers would really create a new place, a new virtual territory for us to colonize. And it just turns out what we've been colonizing for the last 20 years is human attention and human time. And now it looks like we're even running out of that.
Well, when the Internet first emerged people like me thought hooray, now we're going to have a way to restore all that peer to peer conductivity between people. And some of the earliest Internet businesses actually sought to do that in one way or another. If you look at the path of eBay and PayPal and Etsy and Square there are a lot of businesses that are looking at how can we connect people in a lateral way? The problem is as those businesses grew and everybody got interested in the net, other folks, the folks who really who started Wired Magazine or the Global Business Network, a lot of folks who were from the old NASDAQ stock exchange, which had been really depleted every sense of the biotech crash of 1987, they sought in the Internet a new avenue for growth. So for them it wasn't about how are we going to connect people in new wonderful ways and let him create and exchange value between them, it was really more how can we use digital platforms to extract value from people and places? So if you compare an eBay, which is promoting exchange to an Amazon, which is promoting extraction, you can kind of begin to see the difference. What happens is you end up with digital businesses that really are started more in the flip this house model of business that the I'm going to start a business that helps people and keeps going for 20 years.
People put money into an Internet business in order to get to acquisition or IPO. They want to grow this business a hundred times and then get out. It's called an exit strategy. Then it doesn't matter what happens. So, if you have a ride sharing company, are you going to pay your drivers enough so that they can have an ecosystem that lasts 20 years? No, you don't care about that. You can adopt a scorched earth policy towards this because you only need those drivers and that whole ridesharing sector long enough to establish a monopoly and then move over into something else. I mean do you think Amazon cares about booksellers and authors and publishers? No. The book industry was low hanging fruit in the digital economy. Believe me, I'm in the book of business. I know. We barely get by. It's not a growth industry, but it's ripe for the picking. So if you come in and then optimize the book industry you can extract so much value from it, you kill the thing and take it over very, very rapidly, but what's that for? Is it to own the book business? No. It's to then move over into another vertical like housewares and gardening and toys and drones and Amazon Cloud Services and everything else.
When the Internet came around we all thought we're all going to work at home in our underwear in our own time exchanging value with one another, but instead we've ended up with an Internet that takes more time from us, an Internet that we feel exhausted and drained when we're done using it. And that's because we're not using it; it's using us. The Internet is really just the technological front on a whole series of business plans that are looking to extract money from us, time from us, attention from us, and if we have none of those things, at least data from us. And we're not feeling it creating value for us; we're not feeling it really enhance our ability to create and exchange value with other people. It's harder for most of us to make a living now rather than easier. And that's not because automation is doing things better, it's because we're really facing very extractive business plans, extensions of that very same late medieval squashing of peer to peer activity, although now amplify in every device in our arsenal.
The reason I'm optimistic is because the metrics are all on the side of doing business well rather than this scorched earth short term extractive model that most digital companies use. If you look at the data, family businesses do better than shareholder owned businesses on every single metric except one, they grow slower during bubbles. And actually you kind of want to grow slower during bubbles because if you grow big during a bubble then you're part of what pops. Now, the reason why family businesses do better in the long run than shareholder owned businesses is because the person running a family business wants it to be around in another generation or two or three. The person running a shareholder owned business wants to extract enough money from that business so their grandchild can be given this wad of cash.
The person with a family business wants the business to be healthy enough so the grandchild can then run a successful thriving business. And because your family name is on the business you don't want to do really mean things to your employees or to the places that where you operate because then people are going to hate your family. It's your name. It's your face. So a very different dynamic gets set up and one that's ultimately more sustainable as a business. And startup, the founders of startups and technology businesses have to come to understand that taking venture capital and going for the big acquisition, going for that one out of 10,000 chance of getting a homerun is dumb compared to taking a very small amount of money and hitting the single or the double, in other words making ten or $20 million is not tragic, it's still enough. You can still really – you're going to get by on that. You're going to be able to send your kids to great colleges. It's not a failure to have millions of dollars.
But if you have to aim for the billions, if you are forced to your probability is so low - when I look at these founders running to Sequoia and Flatiron and Y Combinator because they want to go big and get the homerun, it looks to me like those people you see taking their welfare checks and going to the bodega and buying lottery tickets because they want to get the jackpot, the $43 million, they have no chance of doing that. And they would have a chance of taking their $5 or $10 and actually investing it and buy a book, learn how to do something, get a job. They have a much more high probability of succeeding. And it just breaks my heart when I see a kid have a great app, a great idea and then they turn to a venture capitalist who gives them a ton of money and a high valuation and then has them pivot. The pivot is not to do something better, all a pivot means is you're going to abandon what your original business was in order to come up with something that's sellable to the next round of investors, the next round of suckers really.
And do you really want to throw away your business? Do you really want to dispose of your idea in order to turn it into the brand name on a Ponzi scheme? I hope not because there's still so many great things we can do with these technologies. There's so much money to be made. There's so much revenue in creating people to one another, in helping people create an exchange value. The mantra I would give any startup and any big business is make other people rich. If you make your users rich they will come back. If you make them poor you've killed your marketplace.
It's harder for most people to making a living now than it was before the rise of online businesses like Facebook and Amazon. That's because the digital economy is hurting the real economy, says media theorist Douglas Rushkoff. Competition is increasingly fierce in just about every industry, and digital technologies have allowed companies to pursue monopolies like never before — because they chase the entire world's population as a customer base.
Businesses have always sought growth, but applying the growth mindset to digital technology wields some very disturbing results. Take Twitter for instance: as a company, it makes $500 billion each quarter, but market observers have questioned the company's value because it doesn't have a growth strategy. Compare that to Amazon or Facebook or Google, each of which span multiple industries and have grown rapidly over the last decade.
Interestingly, for all our fascination with businesses owned by shareholders, family businesses perform better in just about every metric. The reason, says Rushkoff, is that family businesses are more concerned for the future — the long term future, not just next quarter. Rushkoff explains more surprising facts about our digital economy in his book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity. It's truly a fascinating read.
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How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Tribalism and discrimination<p>One question the "Genetic Pressure" series explores: What would tribalism and discrimination look like in a world with designer babies? As designer babies grow up, they could be noticeably different from other people, potentially being smarter, more attractive and healthier. This could breed resentment between the groups—as it does in the series.</p><p>"[Designer babies] slowly find that 'everyone else,' and even their own parents, becomes less and less tolerable," author Eugene Clark told Big Think. "Meanwhile, everyone else slowly feels threatened by the designer babies."</p><p>For example, one character in the series who was born a designer baby faces discrimination and harassment from "normal people"—they call her "soulless" and say she was "made in a factory," a "consumer product." </p><p>Would such divisions emerge in the real world? The answer may depend on who's able to afford designer baby services. If it's only the ultra-wealthy, then it's easy to imagine how being a designer baby could be seen by society as a kind of hyper-privilege, which designer babies would have to reckon with. </p><p>Even if people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can someday afford designer babies, people born designer babies may struggle with tough existential questions: Can they ever take full credit for things they achieve, or were they born with an unfair advantage? To what extent should they spend their lives helping the less fortunate? </p>
Sexuality dilemmas<p>Sexuality presents another set of thorny questions. If a designer baby industry someday allows people to optimize humans for attractiveness, designer babies could grow up to find themselves surrounded by ultra-attractive people. That may not sound like a big problem.</p><p>But consider that, if designer babies someday become the standard way to have children, there'd necessarily be a years-long gap in which only some people are having designer babies. Meanwhile, the rest of society would be having children the old-fashioned way. So, in terms of attractiveness, society could see increasingly apparent disparities in physical appearances between the two groups. "Normal people" could begin to seem increasingly ugly.</p><p>But ultra-attractive people who were born designer babies could face problems, too. One could be the loss of body image. </p><p>When designer babies grow up in the "Genetic Pressure" series, men look like all the other men, and women look like all the other women. This homogeneity of physical appearance occurs because parents of designer babies start following trends, all choosing similar traits for their children: tall, athletic build, olive skin, etc. </p><p>Sure, facial traits remain relatively unique, but everyone's more or less equally attractive. And this causes strange changes to sexual preferences.</p><p>"In a society of sexual equals, they start looking for other differentiators," he said, noting that violet-colored eyes become a rare trait that genetically engineered humans find especially attractive in the series.</p><p>But what about sexual relationships between genetically engineered humans and "normal" people? In the "Genetic Pressure" series, many "normal" people want to have kids with (or at least have sex with) genetically engineered humans. But a minority of engineered humans oppose breeding with "normal" people, and this leads to an ideology that considers engineered humans to be racially supreme. </p>
Regulating designer babies<p>On a policy level, there are many open questions about how governments might legislate a world with designer babies. But it's not totally new territory, considering the West's dark history of eugenics experiments.</p><p>In the 20th century, the U.S. conducted multiple eugenics programs, including immigration restrictions based on genetic inferiority and forced sterilizations. In 1927, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that forcibly sterilizing the mentally handicapped didn't violate the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, "… three generations of imbeciles are enough." </p><p>After the Holocaust, eugenics programs became increasingly taboo and regulated in the U.S. (though some states continued forced sterilizations <a href="https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/" target="_blank">into the 1970s</a>). In recent years, some policymakers and scientists have expressed concerns about how gene-editing technologies could reanimate the eugenics nightmares of the 20th century. </p><p>Currently, the U.S. doesn't explicitly ban human germline genetic editing on the federal level, but a combination of laws effectively render it <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">illegal to implant a genetically modified embryo</a>. Part of the reason is that scientists still aren't sure of the unintended consequences of new gene-editing technologies. </p><p>But there are also concerns that these technologies could usher in a new era of eugenics. After all, the function of a designer baby industry, like the one in the "Genetic Pressure" series, wouldn't necessarily be limited to eliminating genetic diseases; it could also work to increase the occurrence of "desirable" traits. </p><p>If the industry did that, it'd effectively signal that the <em>opposites of those traits are undesirable. </em>As the International Bioethics Committee <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>, this would "jeopardize the inherent and therefore equal dignity of all human beings and renew eugenics, disguised as the fulfillment of the wish for a better, improved life."</p><p><em>"Genetic Pressure Volume I: Baby Steps"</em><em> by Eugene Clark is <a href="http://bigth.ink/38VhJn3" target="_blank">available now.</a></em></p>
A unique exoplanet without clouds or haze was found by astrophysicists from Harvard and Smithsonian.
- Astronomers from Harvard and Smithsonian find a very rare "hot Jupiter" exoplanet without clouds or haze.
- Such planets were formed differently from others and offer unique research opportunities.
- Only one other such exoplanet was found previously.
Munazza Alam – a graduate student at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian.
Credit: Jackie Faherty
Jupiter's Colorful Cloud Bands Studied by Spacecraft<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8a72dfe5b407b584cf867852c36211dc"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GzUzCesfVuw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.
- Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
- The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
- The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
A three-dimensional model of the feeding behavior of Bobbit worms and the proposed formation of Pennichnus formosae.
Credit: Scientific Reports
Beware the Bobbit Worm!<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1f9918e77851242c91382369581d3aac"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_As1pHhyDHY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Meteorologists propose a stunning new explanation for the mysterious events in the Bermuda Triangle.
One of life's great mysteries, the Bermuda Triangle might have finally found an explanation. This strange region, that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been the presumed cause of dozens and dozens of mind-boggling disappearances of ships and planes.
The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims.
- SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) and FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) started as two separate bills that were both created with a singular goal: curb online sex trafficking. They were signed into law by former President Trump in 2018.
- The implementation of this law in America has left an international impact, as websites attempt to protect themselves from liability by closing down the sections of their sites that sex workers use to arrange safe meetings with clientele.
- While supporters of this bill have framed FOSTA-SESTA as a vital tool that could prevent sex trafficking and allow sex trafficking survivors to sue those websites for facilitating their victimization, many other people are strictly against the bill and hope it will be reversed.
What is FOSTA-SESTA?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="723125b44601d565a7c671c7523b6452"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WBaqDjPCH8k?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) and FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) were signed into law by former President Trump in 2018. There was some argument that this law may be unconstitutional as it could potentially violate the <a href="https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/amendment-1/" target="_blank">first amendment</a>. A criminal defense lawyer explains this law in-depth in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoWx2hYg5uo&t=38s" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">this video</a>. </p><p><strong>What did FOSTA-SESTA aim to accomplish?</strong></p><p>The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims. FOSTA-SESTA started as two separate bills that were both created with a singular goal: curb online sex trafficking. Targeting websites like Backpage and Craigslist, where sex workers would often arrange meetings with their clientele, FOSTA-SESTA aimed to stop the illegal sex-trafficking activity being conducted online. While the aim of FOSTA-SESTA was to keep people safer, these laws have garnered international speculation and have become quite controversial. </p><p><a href="https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180321006214/en/National-Anti-Trafficking-Coalition-Celebrates-Survivors-Senate-Passes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to BusinessWire</a>, many people are in support of this bill, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and World Without Exploitation (WorldWE). </p><p>"With the growth of the Internet, human trafficking that once happened mainly on street corners has largely shifted online. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 73 percent of the 10,000 child sex trafficking reports it receives from the public each year involve ads on the website Backpage.com."</p><p>As soon as this bill was <a href="https://www.pivotlegal.org/sesta_fosta_censoring_sex_workers_from_websites_sets_a_dangerous_precedent" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">signed into law</a>, websites where sex workers often vetted and arranged meetings with their clients could now be held liable for the actions of the millions of people that used their sites. This meant websites could be prosecuted if they engaged in "the promotion or facilitation of prostitution" or "facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims." </p><p><strong>The bill's effects were felt around the world — from Canadians being unhappy with the impact of this American bill to U.K. politicians considering the implementation of similar laws in the future.</strong> </p><p>Heather Jarvis, the program coordinator of the Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP), which supports sex workers in the St. John's area, <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/heather-jarvis-website-shutdown-1.4667018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">explained to CBC in an interview</a> that the American bill is impacting everyone, everywhere: "When laws impact the internet — the internet is often borderless — it often expands across different countries. So although these are laws in the United States, what we've seen is they've been shutting down websites in Canada and other countries as well."</p><p>Jarvis suggests in her interview that instead of doing what they aimed to do with the bill and improving the safety of victims of sex trafficking or sexual exploitation, the website shutdowns are actually making sex workers less safe. </p><p>While <a href="https://gizmodo.com/the-uk-wants-its-own-version-of-fosta-sesta-that-could-1827420794" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one U.K. publication</a> refers to FOSTA-SESTA as "well-intentioned but ultimately deeply-flawed laws," it also mentions that politicians in the United Kingdom are hoping to pursue similar laws in the near future. </p>
Has FOSTA-SESTA done more harm than good?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUxMzY5Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2ODUyNDc4OX0.dSEEzcflJJUTnUCFmuwmPAIA0f754eW7rN8x6L7fcCc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=-68%2C595%2C-68%2C595&height=700" id="69d99" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="734759fa254b5a33777536e0b4d7b511" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="sex worker looking online for a job" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Is this really going to help, or is this bill simply pushing sex work and sex-related content further into the dark?
Credit: Евгений Вершинин on Adobe Stock<p>While <a href="https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180321006214/en/National-Anti-Trafficking-Coalition-Celebrates-Survivors-Senate-Passes" target="_blank">supporters of this bill</a> have framed FOSTA-SESTA as a vital tool that could prevent sex trafficking and allow sex trafficking survivors to sue those websites for facilitating their victimization, many other people are strictly against the bill and hope it will be reversed.</p><p><strong>One of the biggest problems many people have with this bill is that it forces sex workers into an even more dangerous situation, which is quite the opposite of what the bill had intended to do.</strong> </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-anti-trafficking-activists-cheer-but-sex-workers-bemoan-shutdown-of/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Globe and Mail</a>, there has been an upswing in pimps sending sex workers messages that promise work - which puts sex workers on the losing end of a skewed power-dynamic, when before they could attempt to safely arrange their own meetings online. </p><p><strong>How dangerous was online sex work before FOSTA-SESTA? </strong></p><p><a href="https://www.beyond-the-gaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/BtGbriefingsummaryoverview.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The University of Leicester Department of Criminology</a> conducted an online survey that focused on the relative safety of internet-based sex work compared with outdoor sex work. According to the results, 91.6 percent of participants had not experienced a burglary in the past 5 years, 84.4 percent had not experienced physical assault in the same period, and only 5 percent had experienced physical assault in the last 12 months. </p><p><a href="https://www.pivotlegal.org/sesta_fosta_censoring_sex_workers_from_websites_sets_a_dangerous_precedent" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">PivotLegal</a> expresses concerns about this: "It is resoundingly clear, both from personal testimony and data, that attacking online sex work is an assault on the health and safety of people in the real world. In a darkly ironic twist, SESTA/FOSTA, legislation aimed at protecting victims of and preventing human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, will do the exact opposite."</p><p><strong>Websites are also being hypervigilant (and censoring more content than needed) because they can't possibly police every single user's activity on their platform.</strong> </p><p>Passing this bill meant any website (not just the ones that are commonly used by sex traffickers) could be held liable for their user's posts. Naturally, this saw a general "tightening of the belt" when it came to what was allowed on various platforms. In late 2018, shortly after the FOSTA-SESTA bill was passed, companies like Facebook slowly began to alter their terms and conditions to protect themselves. </p><p>Facebook notably added sections that express prohibited certain sexual content and messages:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>"Content that includes an implicit invitation for sexual intercourse, which can be described as naming a sexual act and other suggestive elements including (but not limited to):</em></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>– vague suggestive statements such as: 'looking forward to an enjoyable evening'</em></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>– sexual use of language […]</em></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>– content (self-made, digital or existing) that possibly portrays explicit sexual acts or a suggestively positioned person/suggestively positioned persons."<br><br> </em></p><p>Additionally, sections like this were also added, prohibiting things that could allude to sexual activity: </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>"Content in which other acts committed by adults are requested or offered, such as:</em></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>– commercial pornography</em></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>– partners that share fetishes or sexual interests"</em></p><p>Facebook wasn't the only website to crack down on their policies — the Craigslist classifieds section being removed and Reddit banned quite a large number of sex-worker related subreddits. </p><p><strong>Is FOSTA-SESTA really helpful?</strong> </p><p>This is the question many people are facing with the FOSTA-SESTA acts being passed just a few years ago. Is this really going to help, or is this bill simply pushing sex work and sex-related content further into the dark? Opinions seem to be split down the middle on this — what do you think?</p>