Craigslist Shutdown its Adult Services

Written by Annabel Choy. Posted under Headlines, The Web on December 23rd, 2010

Last September , an online classified service board, has caved into pressure brought to them by seventeen attorney generals. The pressure came after the website– influenced by the killing of Julisa Brissman– has been accused of promoting prostitution through its adult services section.

Craigslist adult services has long been under fire by the social media. The call to discontinue its adult section has been around for quite sometime already but the suicide of Philip Markoff, the suspected murderer of Brissma, last September has reignited the flame that finally burned down the website’s erotic section.

After four months of stoppage, Craigslist’s adult services section is now officially out of business around the world. According to the Associated Press, a spokesperson from Craigslist has confirmed the update with the office of Connecticut Attorney General General Richard Blumenthal yesterday.

Blumenthal called the move “another another important step in the ongoing fight to more effectively screen and stop pernicious prostitution ads.” The date of shut down remains unclear
as Craigslist did not announce the removal and instead “quietly” took down the section from all of its international sites, including those in Canada, Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa.

The action was affirmative to Susan MacTavish Best’s statement earlier. Best, who handles press inquiries for Craigslist, was quoted saying “We strongly support the attorneys general desire to end trafficking in children and women, through the Internet or by any other means… We hope to work closely with them, as we are with experts at nonprofits and in law enforcement, to prevent misuse of our site in facilitation of trafficking, and to combat such crimes wherever they appear, online or offline”.

The shutdown was a result of constant pressure and scrutiny from several human rights groups, attorney generals, media, and lay people alike. Craigslist, initially, tried to salvage the adult section by pulling a few tricks out of its hat to circumvent the issue. In a bid to keep the section working, Craigslist has renamed the section from the original “erotic services” to “adult services.” The company also reassured the press by promising to monitor the ads rather than relying on users to identify ones that were questionable. Furthermore, Craigslist has increase the original price to post an adult ad from $5 to $10.

Craigslist, founded by Craig Newmark in 1995, began as an email distribution list of friends, featuring local events in the San Francisco Bay Area. After a series of success, Newmark decided to make it a web-based service in 1996

Over the years, it gained a reputation as a centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements – with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.

Incidentally, the website has also became a very popular online destination for arranging for dates, and sex with users able to choose postings options that are for “strictly platonic”, “dating/romance”, and “sex”. According to Wikipedia “The site has been found to be particularly appealing to help connect lesbians and gay men with one another because of its free and open nature in addition to it being hard to find gay people in one’s area for some.”

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