Posted by Charles Cooper
September 4, 2010
Craigslist has deactivated its adult services section in the United States, leaving in its place the word “censored” in bold black and white.
It’s still not clear whether this means that the classified ads site has taken down the section, something that 17 attorneys general recently demanded in an open letter. They said that Craigslist could not adequately block potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution and child trafficking.
Craigslist did not immediately return a request for comment.
Last year Craigslist changed the name of the section from erotic services to adult services. At the time, the company said it would put in place a manual screening process and review postings before publishing. But that has not stemmed criticism and state officials maintain that Craigslist has not done enough to block illegal ads.
The most recent dust-up involved the case involving former Boston University student, Philip Markoff, who was accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist. On Aug. 15, Markoff committed suicide in the Boston jail where he was awaiting trial.
Also in August, a 17-year-old girl claimed in a half-page advertisement in the Washington Post that she had been sold for sex through ads taken out on Craigslist.
Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist CEO, said at the time that it hadn’t been able to verify the account. He added that the company does not promote prostitution.
But this has become a hot political issue, as evidenced by the list of state AG’s signing their names to the petition pressing Craigslist to move with more alacrity. TechCrunch, which first noticed the relabeling, noted in its post that “Craigslist Sex is what scares the general population, and it’s what the press and the politicians will continue to use to get their hits and votes. So the Craigslist Adult Section was removed. Is the world now a safer place?”