Craigslist has put the kibosh on one of its most iconic sections this week, following the passage of the Senate’s Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. The controversial bill, which passed with a 97-2 vote, essentially holds sites accountable for hosting content related to sex trafficking.
While Craigslist has maintained the links to sections on its homepages, clicking on them will bring up a statement alerting users that the content is no longer available for fear of putting the entire site at risk.
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.
The statement goes on wish happiness to those who’ve found love through the service.
In spite of having passed the Senate with an overwhelming majority, the bill has still met with sharp criticism among both sex workers and internet rights activists, who’ve called it out for putting the onus of the user submitted content on the hosting sites.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation called the FOSTA vote, “a dark day for the Internet,” adding, “As lobbyists and members of Congress applaud themselves for enacting a law tackling the problem of trafficking, let’s be clear: Congress just made trafficking victims less safe, not more.”