Facebook is prostitutes' advertising medium of choice, study finds

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When the founders of Facebook talk about wanting to create an all-encompassing network servicing all our online needs, this might not have be exactly what they had in mind. According to a study from Columbia University, 83% of prostitutes have a Facebook page which they use to attract custom.

Sudhir Venkatesh, the professor who studied 270 New York sex workers over several years to reach these conclusions, estimates that by the end of the year Facebook will have the dubious honour of being the leading online recruitment space for sex workers.

Up to 25% of prostitutes’ regular clients came via Facebook in 2008, but the figure is expected to have risen since then, according to the study initially published in Wired. While Facebook’s guidelines do not ban prostitution, they specify that no illegal activities can be promoted. Still, the social network has risen in popularity as it offers the sex workers more anonymity than many other outlets.

In related news, the study also found that prostitutes preferred using BlackBerry phones, with 70% choosing this brand to conduct business. The iPhone is less popular, with 19% carrying the Apple device.

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