SextPanther took a big hit this month being forced to shut down their SMS Messaging when their third-party provider refused to host it.
On Monday, November 7, the site had their account suspended without warning and it affected their SMS text messaging, phone, and video calls. SextPanther immediately went into overdrive to find a solution to the problem then followed up with correspondence to their models explaining the site’s new situation:
Dear SextPanther Models,
On Monday, November 7th, a service provider suspended our account without warning due to a sampling of messages that violated their terms of service and acceptable use policy. The suspension resulted in a service outage that affected SMS text messaging, phone, and video calls. That same day, our development team took immediate action and quickly pushed a fix to restore phone and video call services while we worked with our legal team to submit an appeal to reinstate our account. On Friday, November 11th, the service provider reinstated our account, but informed us that messages can no longer contain objectionable or prohibited content. While these terms are intentionally gray, their compliance team specifically stated that sexually explicit messages sent via SMS text now fall under prohibited content. This severely limits the two-way SMS text functionality we developed for use by models and users. Given this reality, it is necessary that all SextPanther messaging be transmitted through the website or app.
After receiving the news, numerous models took to Twitter – some calling the loss of SMS the demise of the app, others trying to make sense of how a company that was founded on sexting could end up having these very capabilities severely limited, and still others suggesting that the company would weather the storm well.
I saw a dip in messaging this past week, but had a surge yesterday and today. I think SextPanther has laid a solid foundation and this is a setback that can be overcome. It’s all about adapting and using the browser and their app, which they’ve improved a lot since their v1.
— 🗝️ Mz.Kim 🗝️ SW Class Nov 16th sign up! (@MzKimAP) November 16, 2022
Vice was able to speak with a SextPanther spokesperson who told them that they are looking for a new service provider but that the site “stands on its own as a web-based platform,” and that “the majority of models and users had migrated to web-based messaging, prior to the outage.” The SextPanther spokesperson also stated “our emphasis is, and has always been protecting the ability of the models on SextPanther to earn a living.”
Whatever happens in the future, one thing is for certain. The demise of SextPanther’s SMS is a bleak reminder that the war on sex work is alive and well.
Whether its laws being championed that unfairly target the industry, services being denied, payment providers charging ridiculous fees, or social media platforms shutting down accounts, there’s always someone trying to prevent us from providing content people want to pay for. Like SextPanther, all we can do pick ourselves up, do damage control, and never give into what these bullies want – for us to just go away.
Photo credit: iStock.com/tommaso79
Alyssa Collins hails from Minnesota, where snowy days were the perfect excuse to stay warm inside and write. Over the years, she turned that joy into a career and has authored numerous articles for various publications (under pen names). Email Alyssa via firstname.lastname@example.org.