Craigslist Shuts Down Adult Services; Says It's Being Censored

from the without-a-lawsuit-too dept

Last month, we noted that the dangerously misguided media campaign against Craigslist's adult services section had ramped up, and it didn't take long for various state attorneys general to grandstand against the site with a press conference and "letter" sent to the site, demanding that the adult service section be shut down. This, despite the fact that previous grandstanding attempts had resulted in not one, but two separate settlements with various state AGs, and Craigslist had lived up to the terms of both settlements.

While some had threatened, no actual lawsuit had been filed against Craigslist for this section -- and for a damn good reason: Craigslist is, without a doubt, protected from liability due to Section 230. Furthermore, Craigslist seems to go out of its way to help law enforcement use the site as a tool to crack down on prostitution. Shutting that down won't stop the prostitution. It'll just drive it to sites that don't work as closely with law enforcement.

And that may now be happening. Late Friday, people started noticing that Craigslist had blocked the Adult Services section and replaced it with just a line that said boldly "censored."
Craigslist is, indeed, making quite a statement here. They were pressured to shut down a section on no actual legal basis, in a manner that won't help anyone stop prostitution or exploitation of young women. All it does is give a few politically-minded state attorneys general a headline and a campaign bullet point, falsely claiming that they helped "fight prostitution."

In the meantime, people are pointing out that the ads from the adult services section are already migrating elsewhere on the site and there are lots of other sites ready to pick up the slack -- many of which have been much more explicit than anything on Craigslist ever was. Perhaps most ridiculous of all is that the Attorney General who has lead the grandstanding crusade against Craigslist, Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut still isn't happy, claiming that he's worried this is just a publicity stunt (which is kind of funny, seeing as pretty much everything Blumenthal has had to say about this case has been a publicity stunt.

Filed Under: attorneys general, erotic services
Companies: craigslist

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  1. icon
    Karl (profile), 7 Sep 2010 @ 4:31pm


    Craigslist has shut down their adult services section. Looks like the "used futon for sale" ads are about to get a lot more interesting.

    - Conan O'Brien (via Twitter)

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