Around 3PM ET on April 17th, Switter — a social media space for sex workers — went offline. Its disappearance, however temporary, indicated the FOSTA-driven loss of yet another haven for sex workers, this time in the form of content distribution network Cloudflare. According to Switter founder Assembly Four, the company received an email from Cloudflare’s legal department indicating that it would be terminating its service due to terms of service violations.

Historically, Cloudflare has been careful about what it bans from its platform. Its most high-profile ban was notorious neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer; at the time, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince told The Verge that “this was my decision, I don’t think it’s Cloudflare’s policy and I think it’s an extremely dangerous decision in a lot of ways.” Under the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), however, companies are acting conservatively to avoid potential litigation. “We’re big fans of helping build better internet,” Cloudflare’s general counsel Doug Kramer tells The Verge. “That’s what we do. We try to make it secure. We try to make it function well. But we also have an obligation to comply with the law.”

FOSTA, signed by President Trump on April 11th, aims to fight sex trafficking by reducing legal protections for online platforms. The conflation of consensual sex work with sex trafficking, as well as the threat of litigation for websites, has already lead to a crackdown on Google Drive, social media, and more. FOSTA is, simply put, “a bad law,” Kramer says, that is spreading a…

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