Craigslist announced early Friday morning that it would no longer host personal ads of any kind, in response to a bill that’s meant to curb sex trafficking—but will harm consenting sex workers, instead, according to groups like the ACLU and the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Wednesday, the senate voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill mashup of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). The bill will make websites like Craigslist, as well as social networks like Facebook and Twitter, more liable for what their users say and do on their platforms.
Two days after the vote to pass it, we’re already seeing the repercussions.
The classifieds site’s been in operation since 1995, with personals ads—including “casual encounters,” “misc romance,” “strictly platonic,” and various “seeking” sections—as a central part of the forums. When you click on any of these sections today, you’ll see a statement on their deletion:
“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!”