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Craigslist, the popular online classifieds site, has closed down its adult services section from all of its international portals, ABCNews reports.
"This move is another important step in the ongoing fight to more effectively screen and stop pernicious prostitution ads," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthals said.
Blumenthal was one of several U.S. Attorneys General who put pressure on Craigslist to remove its controversial adult services listings between our own borders. At first, Craigslist censored out the listings, and then removed them completely four months ago.
It's official -- if you want to find a sexual partner erotic escort, you'll have to do so the old fashioned way, or at least away from Craigslist. The popular online classifieds confirmed that it will no longer carry sex-related advertising, The New York Times reports.
"Craigslist discontinued its adult services section on September 3, 2010, and there are no plans to reinstate the category," said William Clinton Powell, director of customer and law enforcement relations at Craigslist. "Those who formerly posted ads in the adult services category will not have to advertise elsewhere, and in fact there is evidence that this process began immediately."
Craiglist blocked access to the ads earlier this month by placing a black censored bar over the URL, but up until this week, had not discussed the decision or said whether it would be a permanent one.
The sex ads, which were on pace to generate $44 million in revenue this year, came under fire from advocacy groups and several state attorneys general, who recently sent a letter urging Craigslist to close down the section.
Hop over to Craigslist and you'll no longer find a censored bar over its "Adult Services" link. That's because the online classifieds service tossed the baby out with the bath water and removed the entire section.
Founder Craig Newmark isn't saying much on the matter, though he did re-tweet a link to an Electronic Frontier Foundation blog post on the topic.
"Through this now years-long struggle, Craigslist's legal position has been and remains absolutely, unequivocally correct: the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (or CDA) grants providers of 'interactive computer services' an absolute shield against state criminal law liability stemming from material posted by third parties," the EFF wrote. "Put simply, the law ensures that the virtual soapbox is not liable for what the speaker says: merely creating a forum in which users post ads that may violate state law plainly does not lead to liability for a web site operator.
"The federal statutory immunity upon which Craigslist relies is not some clever loophole. Rather, the intermediary immunity provided by the CDA represents a conscious policy decision by Congress to protect individuals and companies who would otherwise be vulnerable targets to litigants who want to silence speech to which they object, illegal or not."
So why the sudden move on Craigslist's part to block and now fully remove the controversial section? Undoubtedly playing a part is an open letter (PDF) signed by 17 attorneys general pleading with Craigslist to remove the section and potentially setting the stage for a legal battle to follow.
"We recognize that Craigslist may lose the considerable revenue generated by the the Adult Services ads," the letter states. "No amount of money, however, can justify the courge of illegal prostitution, and the suffering of the women and children who will continue to be victimized, in the market and trafficking provided by Craigslist."
Well folks, it looks like it's back to the bars, chat rooms, chat roulette, online dating services, blind date hookups, grocery stores, coffee shops, and every other new and old fashioned way of hooking up, because Craigslist's 'Adult Services' section looks to be off the table.
There hasn't been any official announcement, but as of last Friday, the online classifieds slapped a "censored" box over what used to be the Adult Services URL.
According to The Consumerist, Craigslist has drawn the ire from at least 18 states' attorneys general over the sultry section, each one charging that it's used for illegal prostitution and sex trafficking. Whether or not the section blockade is temporary or permanent remains to be seen.
In what lawmakers contend was nothing more than a modern day brothel, Craigslist has decided to pull its "erotic services" ads out from the site.
"As of Wednesday, for all U.S. Craigslist sites, postings to the erotic-services category will no longer be accepted," Craigslist said in a statement. "In seven days, the category will be removed. Also effective today for all U.S. sites, a new category entitled 'adult services' will be opened for postings by legal adult service providers."
But before you think this amounts to nothing more than a name change, the classified site went on to say that all postings to the new 'adult services' section will be manually reviewed before going live. The new style posts will run $10, and then reduced to $5 for reposting once approved.
Craiglist's decision to alter its adult section came after the company's attorneys met with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, as well as attorneys general of Connecticut and Missouri.