LinkedIn Draws the Line at the World’s Oldest Profession

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On Monday, LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) revised the user agreement for its online professional network to exclude certain businesses and at least one profession. The company said that it has always forbidden its users from participating in “unlawful” activities but LinkedIn ran into a situation where what’s illegal someplace is legal someplace else.

The new wording in LinkedIn’s user agreement now makes clear that users may not:

Upload, post, email, InMail, transmit or otherwise make available or initiate any content that: Even if it is legal where you are located, create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution.

Prostitution is legal in some countries, so LinkedIn’s change sidesteps the legalities and replaces them with morality. Now there’s a slippery slope.

Not everyone is happy about the change. In Nevada, where prostitution is legal, opinion among sex workers is split. The owner of the Mustang Ranch supports LinkedIn, saying that advertising is against state law. Another brothel owner told The Raw Story that he didn’t want to be included in that group of people “who are doing things illegally.”

LinkedIn’s shares are up about 4% at noon today, at $191.69 in a 52-week range of $88.00 to $202.91.