Craigslist Blamed Yet Again For Something It Didn't Do

from the just-can't-help-it,-huh? dept

Weren't we just pointing out that everyone seems to want to blame Craigslist for things that it has no responsibility for? The latest is Connecticut's Attorney General, who has attacked Craigslist for allowing ads for prostitution. This is hardly a new charge. Last summer, the mayor of Atlanta lobbed similar charges at Craigslist. But, of course, just like that time, the blame is misplaced. Craigslist is the tool provider, not the content provider. To blame Craigslist isn't just wrong, when it comes to illegal acts like prostitution, it's downright backwards. Why? Because as some police have realized, Craigslist is actually a really useful tool for police to track down and arrest people breaking the law.

So not only is it placing the blame on the wrong party, it's doing so in a way that would only drive the prostitution further underground, making it harder for the police (and the Attorney General's office) to do their job. How smart is that? But it sure does generate headlines... The Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, had this to say in a letter to Craigslist:
"I am astonished and appalled by Craigslist's refusal to recognize the reality of prostitution on its Web site -- despite advertisements containing graphic photographs and hourly rates, and widespread public reports of prostitutes using the site."
To which I can only reply: I am astonished and appalled by Richard Blumenthal's refusal to recognize the reality of liability and section 230 safe harbors -- despite it being the law of the land and widely known and discussed in legal circles.

Filed Under: blame, craigslist, prostitution, richard blumenthal
Companies: craigslist


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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 30 Mar 2008 @ 9:14pm

    Re:

    facilitation of criminal activities is the legal argument that any official can use to bring about charges

    Only if the site is actively doing so. Since Craigslist is just an open bulletin board system, they are not guilty of such a thing.

    Section 230 of the CDA is quite clear on this. It's been tested in court case after court case after (including some involving Craigslist).

    craigslist needs to watch its material to make sure that illegal things are not occurring

    Again, the law says exactly the opposite, but thanks for playing.

    any service that lets people say anything they want needs to monitor activity to prevent hate crimes (like against Jews above), obscenity, and make sure that no threats are being made or laws being broken

    Again, this is simply not true. I again point you to section 230 of the CDA. If the site is alerted to such content, they should take it down, but they do not need to actively monitor it.

    Your statement is simply false.

    if people would just stop making stupid arguments because they think the government should have no control on anyone's actions, this forum would make more sense.

    Other than the fact that the "stupid arguments" are exactly correct under the law, whereas your statements are not.

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