Craigslist deletes adult section

By Anne Collier

Here in the US, online classifieds service Craigslist removed its “Adult Services” section on Saturday, though the hundreds of reporters and bloggers who, within a couple of hours, had covered the development, were not sure if it was permanent (as of this writing, there was no statement on the site’s official blog). Seen by youth advocates, human rights activists, and US state attorneys general as a positive development, it could also spell a false sense of security, because on the user-driven social Web there are always workarounds, regardless of what providers do. As security and privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian tweeted, “Which unmoderated section of Craigslist will prostitution move to? Casual Encounters? My vote is ‘Skilled Trade’.” The BBC reports that “last year the San Francisco-based company removed its ‘erotic services’ section and replaced it with a fee-based adult category in response to pressure from 40 state attorneys general.” Then last month, the Washington Post ran a paid ad “from two women appealing for the closure of the adult services section. One said she had been forced into prostitution at the age of 11, with the jobs organised through Craigslist,” according to the BBC. And just last week 17 attorneys general sent Craigslist a letter saying women and children would “continue to be victimised in the market and trafficking provided by Craigslist,” it added. Here’s PC World on “What’s Behind Craigslist’s Censorship?”

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