SAN FRANCISCO, CA – If you were thinking of posting a personal ad on craigslist, think again. All personals ads have been pulled from the popular website.
You cannot read or post to a personals ad under the section of the heading of Personals. Craigslist and other sites like it have been hounded for years about doing more to help combat human trafficking. It appears that since not enough was being done, Congress stepped in and those websites need to make choices of how to go forward.
When you click on a subcategory in the Personals section you are met with the following message:
US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA“, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.
Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking Craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.
To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through Craigslist, we wish you every happiness!
It is no secret that those who wish to do wrong found their way to Craigslist and other places light backpage.com. Government, police and social groups have targeted those sites because they have been used for illegal gain by those involved in human trafficking.
There is no doubt that the owners of Craigslist will see a large drop in revenue with paid personal ads gone.
In March of 2104, Backpage.com was a target by lawmakers and law enforcers to force it to either be shut down or at the very least stop the practice of selling on line ads for escort services. Backpage.com is the top provider of “adult services” advertisements. It is estimated that their stake in adult services advertisements is worth about $22.7 million in annual revenue.
Advertisements for “escorts” could be found for nearly every major city in the United States and they all included girls and boys, some of whom are clearly juveniles who were selling sexual services. Backpage charged one dollar and up for adult services ads. Backpage.com, like that of Craigslist, had been asked to shut down its adult services section, which was clearly used to facilitate human sex trafficking. In response, Backpage representatives stated they were and continue to be committed to preventing minors from being posted on their site, although little action had been taken at time to actually support those claims.
This criminal element has hit close to home as well. In February 2014 a jury convicted James Brown of Sterling Heights in the killing of four women who went to his home after connecting through online escort ads on Backpage. Brown killed the women at his Sterling Heights home in December 2011. The bodies were then stuffed in car trunks and left miles away in a Detroit neighborhood. Two of the women were burned beyond recognition.
Renisha Landers, Demesha Hunt, Natasha Curtis and Vernithea McCrary were all in their 20s when they were murdered by Brown.
Out of the two websites, Craigslist overall did a better job to respond to demands that tighter restrictions be made on advertisements for ‘personal services’ than Backpage did. Network administrators at Craigslist had better controls in place so that advertisements that were worded in such a nature or pattern were blocked even before they were submitted for review to be approved.