Sunsetting Survivors Against SESTA

Hi lovelies,

If you missed our community calls last week, you can hear a recording by visiting this link or by dialing (515) 604-9448 with access code 793259 and reference number 2. We debriefed June 1, June 2, media and electoral work on the call.

On our call, we also announced the decision to sunset the campaign Survivors Against SESTA. We encourage you to listen to the call for the full explanation of how we arrived at the decision. In short: we started Survivors Against SESTA as a fast-paced response to a crisis. We wanted to bring resources together and share vetted updates as quickly as possible to empower people to mobilize in their communities. But campaigns are only one facet of organizing, and sustainable movement building means recognizing when something has served its purpose, recognizing when we need to step back to make space for long-term strategizing. The last couple months have demonstrated the absolute strength and power of this community. We’ve also seen allies and media take notice of our issues and fight with us like never before. All this should empower y’all to go back into your own communities and organize locally. More than ever, that’s what we need to win.

In the coming months, we are committed to archiving and sharing as much of our work as possible so it can be as useful as possible to the grassroots organizers and spaces that this knowledge originally came from.

We are taking the following steps to share widely the resources and information we’ve accumulated:

  1. We are documenting everything we did. We are making toolkits that y’all can use for future organizing. This will take us a few months, and we will release them over the mailing list and post them on the site as we finish them.
  2. We will publicize your organizing events over our mailing list and Instagram (@SurvivorsAgainstSESTA). Our platforms collectively have an audience 4.5k+ strong in places all around the country. Please visit survivorsagainstsesta.org/publicize for eligibility and directions on how to send an event in.
  3. We will continue to check and respond to our email survivorsagainstsesta@protonmail.com. Email us if you have questions about organizing, want to be connected to a resource, or just want to holler! Don’t hesitate to reach out.
  4. We’ll connect you to local organizers. If you’re looking get involved in local organizing but don’t know of any other organizers in your area, email us and we’ll look through our mailing list and personal networks to try to connect you to someone (with mutual consent, of course)!

All of y’all can continue to use #SurvivorsAgainstSESTA and #LetUsSurvive as banners to organizer under as much as you want, and we will continue to amplify your voices on the platforms we have. We’re just sunsetting the centralized campaign. The last four months have shown the awesome resilience of this movement. Let’s take that energy back to the places where this fight moves every day–locally, on the ground, by you.

Love,

Survivors Against SESTA

 

IWD: 2k+ protesters. Join us for community calls 6/20 and 6/22

To our amazing protesters, activists, radical agents of change:

We are awestruck by you. A sea of red umbrellas, the courage you showed in taking back public spaces, words expressing our anger, our fears, our compassion. By our count, y’all turned out 2k+ protesters for International Whores’ Day, the largest in US movement history. And June 1 was the first ever Lobby Day on the Hill, where 40 sex workers and allies met with staffers from 30+ representatives.

We invite you to join us for a community debrief call, where we’ll discuss June 1 and 2, as well as media efforts, and get your input on how you want to move forward, because you are all Survivors Against SESTA. Please spread the word about these calls. Post the call info on Insta, Twitter, and any other networks you have. Continue to encourage people to sign up for our mailing list so they receive updates as well. Feel free to forward this email out. Follow us on Insta: @survivorsagainstsesta for photos from IWD and more.

  • Call times: Wednesday, June 20, 8 pm EST and Friday, June 22, 2 pm EST
    • Dial-in: 515-604-9365
    • Access code: 793259
  • Before or during the call, please take a look at this document to provide input on what you need moving forward so we can talk about it on the call.

We want to be transparent that we are in a moment of transition. This started as a campaign in response to a crisis, and supporting sustainable movement building in the long-term looks very different. We will have updates for you on our community calls.

Meanwhile, if you enjoyed coming out for IWD, there are always ways to keep up the momentum. This month is Pride, and local LGBTQ Pride Parades can be great spaces for a sex worker contingent. Read more about how You Can’t Have Pride Without Marsha P. Johnson. We’ll see you there. 🙂

June 11-18 is also BYP-100’s #SayHerName Week of Action to End Violence Against Black Women and Girls. Follow the hashtag on Twitter to find out more about events in your area.

And if you haven’t uploaded photos of IWD to Getty, Shutterstock and Flickr under free editorial license, please do! Let’s overwhelm the stock photo sites with beautiful images of resistance so publications never print a fishnet stockings photo again.

Finally, we are working on a toolkit to document all the organizing on our end so y’all can have it as a resource in the future.

Thank you for being patient with us, we love you all.

Survivors Against SESTA

 

P.S. A list of media headlines about June 1 and 2 below. (More to come soon! Not everything we know of is up yet.)

 

One week later, what’s new

One week ago SESTA/FOSTA was passed by the Senate and now it’s on the way to the President’s desk for signature. We have already begun to see the wave of its impact with sites closing, adjusting their terms of service and closing threads. And as much as this has been a moment for panic and fear, it has also been a moment of coming together.

In the last week, we have also had two community calls with over 300 call-ins, including groups in cities from DC to San Francisco, meet-ups of sex workers across the country, countless (seriously, we can’t keep up) articles on the consequences of SESTA/FOSTA in larger and larger news outlets. This collective action and solidarity can only grow, and we are committed to stoking this fire as you all build a stronger and stronger resistance.

New this week on the site:

  • The Impact of SESTA/FOSTA: A guide to the impact the bill has had, and a rough guide to what’s changed, as well as some things you can do.
  • Tech Advice: We’ll be adding to this quickly, but here are a few tips on how to safeguard yourself online.
  • Documenting Tech Actions: We’re trying to keep up with what’s going on, and follow up on some of the more difficult patterns. As more things go down or change, please let us know – it’s help inform the info and the advocacy.
  • Keep Fighting: The next big milestone? June 1 and 2. Find out why and ways to keep the momentum up.
  • Find Your Folks: Sex workers are coming together like never before, and community is the backbone of how we’ll not just survive but thrive and grow. Here are some quick tips (we’ll keep building this! We promise!) for making spaces more accessible to your community members.
  • How Did My Rep Vote? A list of how Senators voted, by state. Long story short: Your Senator voted yes.

While a lot of us are scrambling, it’s easy to stay up and try and fight every second you’re awake – but that’s not how this movement survives, and it’s not how you survive. Kim Tran wrote a great article for everydayfeminism on Activist Self-Care that reminds us of things that we too quickly forget.

And in case this is part of your self care, here’s a hampster eating a tiny stack of pancakes.

Tech Safety Tips from @TheHarlotAdvocate

This is from a series of Tweets from @TheHarlotAdvocate

I’ve been approached & questioned heavily my thoughts on FOSTA… Here is a step by step guide on how to stay safe if advertising avenues are shut down.. Provider & Contributors just read #retweet & do exactly what is listed below!

  1. Commit an entire day from your calendar to follow these steps. Then bring a bucket of green tea, water, coffee, a bottle of two of wine to set the mood cause it’s a lot of work.
  2. Log into your current email & start to organize. Listing in this order the A) The Contributors/Providers States. B) Which Contributors/Providers Have Been Seen & Safe. C) Which Contributors Are Just PreScreened. D) Who is Professional. E) Who Is Not. F) Who is Blocked.
  3. Open 2 Proton Mail Accounts. A) One for professional business name. B) Second for recovery email. Or use the amazing @SafeOffice because they are literally that awesome!
  4. After you have organized your original professional email into those folders… Transfer that information them over to the new professional email accounts I have listed above that you have made for yourself.
  5. Yes it is a ton of work but trust me your email and organizing is your absolute best option for maintaining clients & contributor relationships. “If it’s based overseas you are good to go.”
  6. Make an announcement to the clients that you are closing your old email accounts associated within wonderful USA & if you so choose send them to your new email address.
  7. Go to each of your advertisement platforms that are based in the US and remove any and all special keywords that can be associated with sex work. Such as uncheck that incall/outcall, roses, gfe girlfriend etc, pricing unless on your website.
  8. Treat each US based advertising platform as a profile for strictly dating.. Like think your looking for a breath taking “dating profile.” Keep that thought, and write your content appropriately.
  9. Go on your twitter and social platforms and clean house. Remove anything and everything that can or will be perceived as a worker verses a dating profile. This included comments, DM messages, paid profile links, etc that allude to worker status verses dating status.
  10. Contributors This Is For You. No MORE DMs.. You need to approach only through email… That’s it.. Do not waste a dating profiles time when you are just seeking an emotional connection.. This puts them at risk. Stop it and keep it professional.
  11. Girls with phones…. We all have them or used too. DO NOT USE YOUR PERSONAL PHONE FOR ANY WORK PURPOSES. You have two phones for two reasons you do not ever mix the two. One is for booking dating spots, one is for checking your grocery lists.
  12. Girls with phones.. USE A VPN AT ALL TIMES. Keep it on the minute that phone is on and the minute that phone is off. That simple! Your preferred form of contact should always be email, from the new email you have provided.
  13. When posting photo pictures from your cell phone.. Keep that VPN ON. Make sure you always always screenshot at least 5-6 times, zooming in, and posting it then.
  14. Providers DO NOT POST cell phone pictures from the hotel you are staying at unless there is nothing that identifies that room. Still for me personally it’s a huge no no hence I don’t do it.
  15. Providers & Contributors quit tagging the location where you are at while you are still there. That is just blatantly putting it out there!
  16. Discretion is key to staying busy. Supporting one another is the key to keeping safe. Avoid the drama like the plague. Follow all my steps listed above and you will be good to go!

Post-SESTA/FOSTA Self-Censoring for Twitter, Reddit, and other Social Media

This is reposted from Tits and Sass, an awesome blog for sex workers, which has a wealth of information and resources. We’re just holding it because not everyone’s work/library server gets titsandsass.com and we feel bad for you. Original post here.

In case you need to disappear yourself before the state does it for you.

In the immediate aftermath of SESTA/FOSTA passing, before it’s even been signed into law, we’re already seeing discussion of sex work on the internet hit.

Some companies, like Patreon, seem to have preemptively changed their policies last year while the legislation was being written. Others have started publicly changing their policies today and it should be expected they won’t be the last. Cityvibe, an advertising site that mostly concentrated on LA, is down in the last 24 hours. (Eds. note: since the writing of this article, TER has restructured, and Craigslist has removed its personals section.Twitter’s Chief Information Security Officer just left the company, as well, which means we’re going to see a new direction in that department.

On Reddit, after the site posted new policy updates, here’s a message that was sent to moderators of r/SexWork, an important educational and harm reduction discussion forum:

Roux001

What does “zero tolerance” mean? No one really knows. What is clear is that sites like Reddit will try to unload their responsibility to comply with this law onto users and volunteer moderators. Though paid Reddit admins can remove posts themselves, Reddit is instead threatening an entire community with closure if they ever miss a post Reddit determines to be over the line.

I have to say, at least, that it’s nice they even reached out. Reddit has already closed r/escorts, r/Hookers, r/MaleEscorts, and r/SugarDaddy, among others.

Some tech companies may hold out until there’s legal action taken against them, but I can’t imagine any company wants to be the first.

So. What can you do? Right now, most users on these sites are a in the dark with no clear path forward. A social media site can shut down your account whenever they want, for any reason, with no recourse or appeal. The First Amendment implications of this are still untested.

One measure people have discussed is self-censoring your profile. This is a shitty thing to have to consider, but it IS possible keywords could be used to decide what profiles are “risky” to flag for removal.

I can’t decide for you if removing your old tweets is worth your time. It’s possible this could matter a lot. It’s possible it won’t matter at all. For some people, old tweets have sentimental or historical value, while for others removing them could be a serious matter of safety.

Self-censoring is an unfortunate thing to have to resort to, but I believe right now it’s most important to maintain our networks and followers. Deleting your account is doing the dirty work for the tech companies – you may be able to avoid losing your account so you can continue participating in the community and being involved in a broader political discussion.

If you decide to delete tweets, there are a few ways to do it. This guide will be based on using a desktop or laptop and not a cell phone, since some of these features are not available on phone.

There’s an app called TweetEraser that offers a service to search and delete tweets in bulk. (Eds. note: Some people have also recommended an application called ShameEraser.)

You’ll have to sign up by linking your Twitter and authorizing it within the app. The initial load of tweets can take a really long time, but then you should be able to search for terms fairly easily. Here’s what it looks like:

Roux002

It seems like this can be used without paying, but you may run into some limitations. I’m not 100% sure it sees all replies and retweets and without paying it may be limited in how many of your tweets it searches (if you have over 5000).

If you do use this method, you may want to do it once with this app and then with the manual method described below, which is free and can be done just using Twitter directly without allowing access to a third party application.

Go to your settings in a desktop browser window. The link is twitter.com/settings/account. At the bottom there is a section called “Your Twitter Archive”. You can click a button here to start generating it. (Mine says “Resend” cause I just did it)

Roux003

After a little bit, you’ll get an email that looks like the one below. Click the link and you’ll download a .zip file with a long weird file name.

Roux004

You can open this file with a variety of programs, I’m using WinRAR. You’ll want to extract the whole folder. I renamed mine, as you can see. There’s actually a ReadMe file in here too!

Roux005

Remember to extract the whole folder. You’ll need the subfolders in order for this to work, since they hold the actual data. The csv file can probably be ignored — it’s a comma separated list which can be opened in programs like Excel to see all your tweets in a spreadsheet format.

For now, you’ll want to click on the index.html file. This is basically like a website, but you’re loading it directly off your computer. So it loads a lot faster than trying to get your tweets from Twitter’s server while browsing. The folders above hold info for this page.

Once you open the html file in a web browser, you can type in search terms on the upper right. Here I’m looking for tweets that use the word “escort”.

Roux007

The search will also find retweets. This can be useful if you are worried you might be accused of “facilitating” something – we really don’t know what behavior is targeted under the new laws so you’ll have to decide how to balance safety and community promotion for yourself.

Roux008

As you’re searching, you can click the “View on Twitter” link to view posts on the web and remove (or un-retweet) them. On my PC, I browse through and hit these links with my middle mouse button to open them in a bunch of tabs—a little easier for me than going back and forth

Roux009

In case you need a refresher, you can delete a tweet on desktop by clicking the downward arrow on the top right of the tweet and selecting “Delete Tweet” from the drop-down. To remove a retweet, hit the retweet button a second time so it goes back to being gray.

Roux010

This can be a time-intensive process, but you can also use it to find one or two tweets you remember making if you just want to get those. You might want to just look up phrases like “tour dates” or even “I’ll be in”, to remove things that are definitely advertising gigs and not just speaking in the abstract.

If you want to delete all your tweets without deleting your account, I think Tweet Delete still works.

If you’ve been added to any “lists” or created your own, you may want to delete yours or block and then unblock someone to remove yourself from someone else’s. If you have a key phrase in your twitter name, like GFE or Escort, you may want to change your username. If you decide it’s the best option for you, here is how to deactivate and permanently delete your account.

Now let’s look at a couple of safety measures you can take on  Reddit. The policy update they did mentions “physical sexual contact”, which may give you an idea of what you might want to look for.

Roux011

Here’s a site that may make finding key phrases a little easier: redditcommentsearch.com

You can just enter a key phrase and your username and hit search. It might take a minute depending on how many comments you have, since this is doing the search with a scan of the public data of Reddit, instead of a downloaded archive on your computer like we got from Twitter.

Roux012

You can then click the links below to find comments to delete.

You can also use a Chrome browser extension to scrup your whole public reddit history. The Google Chrome plugin Nuke Reddit History overwrites all your comments with nonsense and then deletes them. Note: this can take a LONG time to finish depending on how much you use the site.

If you’ve got a fan subreddit or one you run yourself, you may want to put a disclaimer of some sort in the description sidebar. Here’s the exact text of what I put in mine, with formatting, that you can use if you want to paste it in:

**Important:** On Reddit, you can discuss or link to adult content of a [digital nature *only*](https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/863xcj/new_addition_to_sitewide_rules_regarding_the_use/). Any content referring to “paid services involving physical sexual contact” will immediately be removed.

This sucks, obviously, but if you have alternative revenue streams like selling video commissions or Snapchat access, it may be better to keep something up rather than losing your entire fan community.

You may also want to delete messages, but keep in mind that these messages will still exist in the other person’s inbox. Which leads us to another point — and here is an admin saying it outright in a thread about message deletion:

Roux013

That’s right. They “generally don’t delete things”. Even when a company specifically claims that your account will be permanently deleted, be skeptical. Don’t expect this to actually make things go away. Your tweets may be cached in other places. Reddit keeps everything and just flags things so they don’t show publicly.

As for other sites, if you’re using Facebook, my personal advice would be to get off there as soon as possible. In my personal opinion, the risks with Facebook go far beyond the possibility of losing your profile. They use tracking cookies, among other methods, to build insanely complex “advertising profiles”—basically, repositories of personal information that link you, geolocations to do with you, websites you visit, etc, all together. Here’s a link if you want to permanently delete your account. Your Facebook may be more important to you than mine was, but it’s hard for me to have advice about “cleaning it up” when the platform itself is so problematic.

Your other option there is to again, try not to use any key phrases you think someone might search for, and remember that nothing is private to admins. They can see your messages, they can see private group activity. A private group is NOT a private group, if that group is on Facebook.

It’s hard for me to have specific directions for Facebook, since when I’ve tried to create new pages for my work persona (as a “porn star”), Facebook has shut down my account in the process of creating it (without a readily apparent appeal option) after I’d put my name in.

As far as other sites, like Tumblr, Imgur, Gfycat, etc. you may want to clean those up as well. You can try using url searches to find specific tags on your Tumblr:

http://example.tumblr.com/tagged/TAG (newest first)
http://example.tumblr.com/tagged/foo/TAG (oldest first)

Here’s a guide to deleting all your Tumblr posts.

We’re not trying to cover anything up here or delete evidence or anything sketchy. Rather, our only goal here can be to try and anticipate new terms of service changes and bring our accounts “in line” rather than lose them entirely. We’re counting on site admins seeing this as a good faith effort and, subjectively, allowing us to stay.

Think this a fucked up amount of power over the freedom of speech for some random unseen tech company cubicle farm worker looking over hundreds of accounts each day? Yeah, it might be.

That’s basically it. I guarantee that this is important to do, or be sure what terms will be important. And I hate that we even have to think about self-censoring. But if you are looking for a way to look through your tweets or Reddit comments quickly, here’s one way to do it. I hope it’s helpful!

Liara Roux is a sex worker, independent adult media producer and director, a political organizer focused on freedom of expression for adult workers online, and an advocate for decriminalization and protection of consensual adult activity including queer and sex worker rights and safety worldwide. Liara is known online and in the press for her interest and expertise in online content creation, cryptocurrencies, virtual reality media, and a variety of stories to do with her projects. She has been interviewed by or had projects featured by the press in Vice and Motherboard, Playboy, Engadget, Buzzfeed News, The Daily Dot, IB Times, YNOT News, BBC Technology, among others and on blogs such as The Mary Sue, Kotaku, Pandora Blake, ErosBlog and Fredzone. Her work has screened in Berlin during the Berlin Porn Film Festival. She has been publicly involved with adult media creation and sex work as Liara Roux for around four years and is now producing and directing her own videos. Before Patreon started removing pornography, she was one of the most popular adult content Patreon creators. Liara is currently re-launching her media site as LiaraRoux.xxx, with subscriptions available to the public in April 2018. Liara has done over 200 photo and video shoots since 2015, and around 100 of these will be available at the LiaraRoux.xxx archive upon launch. Along with the artist Aubrie Haze, Liara is writing a comic titled Adventures of Liara Roux. It’s currently in its second story and can be read at http://www.AdventuresOfLiaraRoux.com. In 2017, Liara organized and penned an Open Letter to Patreon along with a working group. The open letter, available at http://www.OpenLetterToPatreon.com, was a response to Patreon’s new policies to do with adult content and strove to advocate for vulnerable creators in danger of being removed from the online funding platform. In 2018, a film called “GFE” that Liara worked on (and was the only star of) was screened at SXSW without her consent, sparking fan reaction, media attention and legal action by Liara’s representation. She is currently involved in legal negotiations to do with the film. When not traveling for work, Liara lives bicoastally in the United States and has 4 black rescue cats. She’s on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and has a fan community on Reddit. She also streams playing videogames on Twitch and has a profile with trailers for her films on Pornhub. Liara can be reached by email at Liara.Roux@gmail.com. She is represented by Austin Law Group in San Francisco, where Alex Austin can be reached for comment on relevant issues.

SESTA/FOSTA Passes the Senate

This afternoon, despite an incredible turn out to push back on SESTA/FOSTA, it received enough votes to pass the Senate. From here it will move to the President’s desk for a signature. It is not clear when the law will take effect, and there is already discussion of challenging different parts of the law. I know this is a big hit for everyone, especially those who put in a lot of amazing time and effort and energy into the calls and outreach and advocacy.

So please: Get Angry. Be furious. By hurt and upset and do whatever you have to do to mourn this moment. Take care of yourselves, reach out to the community and chosen family that has always been the strongest social safety net, and when you are ready – be heartened by what happened. Poke around the articles which were written, read the letters of support, look at the beautiful art that was created (which we will still be collecting) and remember that sex work is just a code word for resilience. Take heart that this is now the moment to awe people with that resilience.

Tomorrow, Thursday (3/22) at 7:30pm EST and Sunday (3/25) at 4pm EST we’ll be having open community calls to talk about SESTA, share more of the organizing efforts that people didn’t get to see and next steps. Please RSVP here to get the call-in information and ask questions.

Community (and allies) debrief calls this Thursday and Sunday

A huge, deeply felt thank you to all of y’all who have been fighting against SESTA/FOSTA. Tweeting, calling, writing letters, meeting with staffers, spreading the word–you’ve pushed the issue of rights and safety for everyone in the sex trade into the minds of so many. 

Please join us for community (and allies) debrief calls this Thursday, March 22 at 7:30 pm EST and Sunday, March 25 @ 4 pm EST. Please RSVP here for the call-in information.

We’ll share the results of our actions and updated information about the bills. We will also discuss medium-term next steps and how you can get involved with:

  • Upcoming Know-Your-Rights and harm reduction/safety info related to SESTA/FOSTA
  • A national lobbying and/or direct action day
  • Ideas for proactive narrative shifting in the press

Please share and invite community.