The Twitter escort accounts reviewed by TheStreet didn't require the age screening process. Users can quickly find escort services in their region simply by entering into the Twitter search bar 'escorts' and the name of the city.
Investors should take note that social media is in its infancy, said Paul Levinson, a professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University.
"All these media are caterpillars, they're not yet butterflies. They're going through growing pains," Levinson said. "I think the worst thing that Twitter could do is follow an example [of] another toddling new social media like Facebook."
Whether Twitter intends to address the growing number of illegal accounts remains unclear. Interviews with numerous women who admitted to working as prostitutes, revealed that they increased clientele via a Twitter account.
Melinda, a dominatrix in the Northeast who said she also works as a prostitute, said that she annually pays thousands of dollars for her ErosGuide profile. The Web site uses its clout on Twitter to broadcast advertisements daily for an international stable of escorts, and regularly violates the terms of service -- the ErosGuide Twitter handle re-posts links to several of its Twitter accounts connected to escorts' profiles. Altogether, it has thousands of followers.
ErosGuide did not respond to an inquiry for comment on the matter. The Web site appears to operate at least 20 international Twitter handles -- a violation of Twitter's terms of service -- mainly in Europe.
Twitter would not cite which organizations it works with to track and disrupt prostitution rings, but the company representative speaking on background pointed to its company policy to combat child sexual exploitation. Twitter is a member of Thorn's Technology Task Force.
-- Written by Jonathan Marino in Washington and Joe Deaux in New York. >Contact by Email. Follow @JoeDeaux
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