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New investigation discovers Facebook was allowing gay 'sex for rent' arrangements

Facebook had been hosting a group allowing landlords offer rooms to young gay men in exchange for sex

2018-04-21

A new Buzzfeed investigation has found that Facebook had been allowing gay "sex for rent" arrangements to happen. 

A now-deleted Facebook group called "Gay Houseboy's and those who hire them" allows members to set up gay "sex for rent" arrangements between landlords and young homeless men. 

Buzzfeed's Patrick Strudwick investigated the group, which is described as a "group for gay men seeking gay boys to work for them as houseboys, and for gay houseboys seeking employment."

The publication discovered the group last month and found multiple ads, with one reading: "Looking for a white male 18-25 to come and join our household for a live-in position. General duties will include cleaning, walking dog, shopping, cooking and general house projects... This position would ideally include sex and lots of affection from our boy."

According to Buzzfeed, a second ad featured a photo of a naked man with his penis exposed standing beside a Christmas tree with the words: "ISO [In search of] True Houseboy 18-25 White Slim Clean". 

Several other ads requested that respondents should reply with "face and body photos". Some ads included age limits, men seeking houseboys "with benefits" or suggested a controlling dynamic. 

It's not just landlords posting in the group, however, as several young gay men have posted asking for live-in positions. One post by a 24-year-old man explained he wanted somewhere to stay because he had "nowhere to go" and was "willing to [go] wherever" he was needed. 

In private messages, Buzzfeed was told by one houseboy how landlords in the group "tend to assume that every houseboy is a whore". A second houseboy insisted he wasn't concerned about the arrangement and explained how he does housework all day before being used as a sex toy. 

During the investigation, Strudwick spoke to one of the men who had become involved in the gay "sex for rent" arrangements after graduating, coming out to his parents and being left homeless. Buzzfeed found that, during the arrangements, the young man had been drugged, abused, infected with HIV and raped.

The group's administrator was also contacted by the publication and revealed that Facebook had not intervened. He said: "We have never had an incident from Facebook. If they [members] want to post something that will not fly with Facebook I write them, and tell them what needs to be changed." 

Meanwhile, Buzzfeed also found gay "sex for rent" adverts on other websites including Craigslist UK and Room Buddies. 

Following the publication of Buzzfeed's investigation, a Facebook spokesperson revealed that the social media giant had spent "a long time" looking into the group and has now removed it for violating Facebook's standards.