I'm a freelancer on Upwork, but also regularly use contractors (usually not through Upwork). I have a handful of contractors who work for me on an as-needed basis, and would love to run all of them through Upwork for the convenience and clarity. I know Upwork wants us to move as much work as possible onto the platform--obviously, this helps Upwork make money, and expands the pool of qualified freelancers and clients.
On the other hand, in the freelancer forums I've seen frequent warnings and even people suspended because they hired or were hired by local "friends."
Could a moderator please weigh in on whether or not you want these accounts on the platform and, if so, how to avoid the perception of feedback fraud or whatever the concern is that creates trouble for those with pre-existing relationships?
We certainly want freelancers and clients to use Upwork to manage their contracts, payments and reporting. BYOF and BYOC are intended to make the transition smooth and beneficial for both clients and freelancers.
You do raise a valid concern about these programs (or moving offsite relationships to Upwork in general) being used for feedback building or other ToS violations. We do have internal ways to identify such cases of abuse. I won't be able to share details about these systems here as we want to prevent anyone from unfairly bypassing our guidelines.
Rest assured that if violations are suspected, the team always communicates with users before taking any final actions.