Gizmodo recently published a piece describing how Facebook connected a sex worker’s professional identity with her real identity. The story is shocking but, unfortunately, not surprising.
Gizmodo tells the story of “Leila” (a fake name used to protect her identity), a California sex worker. She has two identities. One is on Facebook. The other is not on Facebook.
Leila’s “real,” public identity lists her legal given name and contains personal posts. However, “her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number and a different name,” Gizmodo reported.
“Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook’s ‘People You May Know’ recommendations, Leila was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients,” Gizmodo continued.
So, even though Leila only gave Facebook information about her IRL identity, not-work-related identity, the network still was able to connect her with people she knows through her sex-worker identity.
“Facebook insists on concealing the methods and data it uses to link one user to another, [so] Leila is not able to find out how the network exposed her or take steps to prevent it from happening again,” Gizmodo noted.
“It’s not just sex workers who are careful to shield their identities,” Leila said. “The people who hire sex workers are also very concerned with anonymity, so they’re using alternative emails and alternative names. And sometimes they have phones that they only use for this, for hiring women. You have two ends of people using heightened security, because neither end wants their identity being revealed. And they’re having their real names connected on Facebook.”
A cam model on protecting your identity
Social media is a multifaceted beast. On a personal level, it’s perfect for connecting with friends and family. It also can help you better promote your cam work, but this may come with a privacy price.
We asked Kelly Cabbana her thoughts about Leila’s story and how she strikes a balance between her IRL and work identities.
YNOTCam: Have you ever had your identity revealed accidentally by a social media service or a company?
Kelly Cabbana: I have been pretty fortunate to not have my real identity revealed by the companies I have worked for. The companies I am affiliated with have done a great job of protecting my real name.
I was recognized by a family member who saw me online at FreeOnes and [a tube site], and then this person decided to tell my family about my career in the adult industry. That was very difficult to deal with. I’m not embarrassed at all by what I do, but my family has a very strong Christian background, and it took them over a year to be able to speak to me again.
I have a hard time understanding why camming is so offensive to people; I really don’t get it. Personally, I think we should all respect each other’s career choices. I remember telling them, “I’m still me; I’m still the same person you have known for all these years.”
If you’ve experienced any kind of identity reveal, can you detail how the service resolved the issue and what you did to regain your privacy?
I do have an account with a texting/phone service company and made a terrible mistake.
I had set up the account and began using the service. I failed to change my phone message from the default setting to a custom one, and I had a client call me to do a phone service. I could not answer at the time and the client was sent to my voicemail, which revealed my real cellphone number. It was a very bad experience, because he called and called and harassed me so much the company had to file a police report against him.
This actually also happened to a couple of other girls that were using the same service. It was not really the service’s fault though.
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