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Link-sharing service Linktree suddenly blocks sex workers



Yet another service has kicked sex workers off its platform. According to Motherboard, Linktree, a tool that allows you to share multiple links with one URL online, has given sex workers the boot overnight and without warning. Banned users have taken to social networks like Twitter to announce that their accounts were banned “for inappropriate use” and didn’t even get an email or any kind of notice about it. Some were reportedly billed for the service, which costs $9 per months for the Pro tier, but weren’t refunded when their account was canceled. 

Marlene Bonnelly, Head of Trust & Safety at Linktree, told the publication that the accounts that were banned shared a URL that violated its Community Standards. Bonnelly’s statement reads:

“Per our company’s policies, the Linktree accounts banned stemmed from sharing a URL which violated Community Standards by sharing advertisements for the sale of real-life sexual services.”

Sex workers make use of tools like Linktree, because some platforms don’t allow linking out to adult websites such as OnlyFans directly. Perhaps more importantly, they have to diversify make use of several websites, because they’ll never know when a service will suddenly decide to ban adult content. 

Financial services like PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, have long been known to close the accounts of people in the business of sex. Patreon banned content of a sexual nature back in 2017, and the number of services that decided not to host sex workers and their content have only grown since the US government passed FOSTA-SESTA a few years ago. Even OnlyFans, which has become synonymous with adult content, tried to ban “sexually explicit conduct” in 2021 until it suspended its planned policy change.

Linktree’s Terms of Service states that a user must not “include any sexually explicit material (including pictures and language) on your Page itself or your account itself.” However, it’s vague and not entirely clear if linking to websites like OnlyFans has always been against its rules. It’s also unclear why Linktree suddenly started banning sex workers when they’d been using the service without issue for quite some time, but people in the business of sex may want to find another link-sharing tool they can use.

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This PS5-ready 1TB SSD is just $130



Not all M.2 SSDs are PS5-compatible. They need to be PCIe 4.0-ready and boast a 5,500MB/s read speed (though some slower drives may work, according to our testing), and Adata’s XPG Gammix S70 Blade meets those requirements. The reason why I’m telling you about this one, in particular, is that it’s selling for just $129.99 at Best Buy and Amazon, a $30 price cut. At that price, it’s one of the fastest yet most affordable ways to add storage to your PS5. Similar models from brands like Samsung often sell for about $50 more than this.

Whether you plan to use it inside of a PC that has a PCIe 4.0-ready motherboard (it’s backward compatible with PCIe 3.0, just a slower speeds) or a PS5, it’ll be ready to install the moment you open the box. Unlike some M.2 SSDs, this one includes a heatsink with purchase. Per Sony’s recommendations to keep it within safe operating temperatures in your PS5, you’ll need to secure it before installation. Though, some customer reviews for this SSD offer a warning that the quality of the included heatsink isn’t top-tier. So, you may want to offset some possible disappointment with an affordable alternative. Here’s this low-profile heatsink from Micro Connectors that’ll work, selling for just $10.99 at Amazon.

Adata SSD

Adata Gammix S70 Blade M.2 SSD (1TB, PCIe 4.0)

Adata’s Gammix S70 Blade offers up to 7,400MB/s and 6,800MB/s of sequential read and write speeds in PCIe 4.0 machines, or up to 3,400MB/s read and 3,000MB/s write in PCIe 3.0 rigs. It’s compatible with the PS5.

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

If you’re ready to pull the trigger on a Nintendo Switch (I’m envious of all the great games you get to play for the first time), Woot is offering a $20 off perk for Amazon Prime subscribers. Head to this page, and when you add it to the cart, make sure to click the “Login with Amazon” in order to get in on this deal. It’s tough to beat getting a brand-new Switch for less than the usual cost; Nintendo’s console almost never sees any kind of discount.

While you’re at it, consider picking up a microSD card that’ll give you enough space to store several games (the Switch has 32GB of internal memory, which is enough for two to three games, depending on their file size). This SanDisk model with 256GB of storage for $27.14 at Amazon should suit most people.

HP’s 16.1-inch Omen gaming laptop is selling for a good deal at Best Buy. Normally $1,479.99, you can snag the configuration with AMD’s previous-generation Ryzen 7 5800H processor, AMD’s Radeon RX 6600M graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD for $1,149.99. It also features a 144Hz refresh rate 1080p display and other perks like a full-sized SD card reader, three USB-A ports, ethernet, USB-C, mini DisplayPort, and an HDMI port.

While we haven’t tested this particular model, its specs should deliver a good gaming experience for people who don’t need to run games on their highest graphical settings. In other laptops, this processor has been notable for its efficiency, and the RX 6600M graphics chip seems to be on par with Nvidia’s RTX 3060.

HP Omen 16

HP Omen 16

This 16.1-inch gaming laptop features AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800H processor and the Radeon RX 6600M graphics chip.

Other deals you may dig

  • One of Samsung’s flagship QLED TVs from 2021, the 55-inch Neo QLED QN90A, is selling for $1,297.99 at Amazon, its lowest price yet (normally $1,799.99). It features Mini LED backlighting for more accurate backlighting and supports gaming at up to 4K resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate via HDMI 2.1 ports.
  • New Oculus Quest 2 owners should consider upgrading the stock strap to the Elite Strap, which offers better support and comfort. Normally $49, it’s $39 at Amazon.

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YouTube considers jumping on the NFT bandwagon



YouTube is the latest platform eyeing a move into NFTs. In a new letter to creators about YouTube’s 2022 priorities, CEO Susan Wojicki said the company is exploring how its creators could benefit from the digital collectibles.

In the letter, Wojicki said that Web3 — a term used by crypto enthusiasts to refer to the collection of blockchain based technologies they believe will usher in a new era of the internet — has been a “source of inspiration” for the company. She didn’t say exactly how YouTube may integrate NFTs into its platform, but suggested the technology could be a new source of revenue for creators.

“The past year in the world of crypto, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and even decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) has highlighted a previously unimaginable opportunity to grow the connection between creators and their fans,” she wrote. “We’re always focused on expanding the YouTube ecosystem to help creators capitalize on emerging technologies, including things like NFTs, while continuing to strengthen and enhance the experiences creators and fans have on YouTube.”

If YouTube allowed creators to sell NFTs directly to their fans, it would be a major boon for the technology, which in popularity over the last year, but hasn’t been widely adopted by major social platforms. But there are already signs that could change in 2022.

Twitter just introduced its first experiment with NFTs, with Instagram’s top executive has also expressed an interest in the technology, and The Financial Times last week that Facebook and Instagram are working on an NFT marketplace and other features,

NFT aren’t the only new monetization opportunities YouTube is looking at in the coming year, though. Wojicki also said the company is “excited” about podcasts and that “we expect it to be an integral part of the creator economy.” She also confirmed that YouTube would expand its shopping features to more creators, and test “how shopping can be integrated into Shorts.”

The CEO also touched on the controversy surrounding YouTube’s decision to remove public from its platform. She noted that the dislikes was often used to target smaller creators for harassment, and that the feature could still be used to inform individuals’ recommendations. “Every way we looked at it, we did not see a meaningful difference in viewership, regardless of whether or not there was a public dislike count,” she said. “And importantly, it reduced dislike attacks.”

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Plaid’s new privacy controls let you manage your financial data from a single hub



Plaid, a go-between for financial apps like Robinhood, Venmo, and Betterment and bank accounts, has created a privacy hub where you can manage all of your financial connections. The hub is a requirement of a lawsuit Plaid settled about its handling of user data.

The hub, called Plaid Portal, shows users exactly which apps they’re connected to by Plaid. It can be found by accessing, where the service will prompt users to set up an account. Then, it’s possible to browse connections and disconnect unused apps from bank accounts. The portal details the kinds of data users sharing through Plaid, as well as which bank accounts are connected. It’s also possible to wipe all of a user’s linked data through the portal.

Plaid, which is used by more than 5,500 apps to connect to bank accounts, has been accused of taking too much financial data from users and using that information to access and sell their transaction history. A class-action suit alleged that Plaid collected users’ bank account login information through web pages that mimicked “the look and feel of the user’s own bank account login screen.” The company settled the suit for $58 million without admitting wrongdoing, and claimed it was adequately transparent with the user.

As part of the settlement, Plaid is required to delete some of its stored data, minimize the data it collects going forward, as well as “improve and maintain” the changes it has already made to Plaid Link, the tool Plaid uses to connect users’ bank accounts to apps. It was also required to create a privacy dashboard, which we now know as the Plaid Portal.

If you’re a US resident and connected your bank account through Plaid from January 1st, 2013 and November 19th, 2021, remember to file a claim through the class-action settlement’s site by April 28th, 2022.

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