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back to article Craigslist to tell Congress why it cut adult ads

Craigslist is to explain to a Congressional committee why it removed ads for escorts and other adult services and replaced the section with the word "censored". The site has been under attack for supposedly supporting the trafficking of minors, despite employing lawyers to pre-screen every advert before it appeared in the adult …

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Gold badge
Badgers

Yikes

Rock. Craigslist. Hard place.

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Silver badge

Damned if you do, damned if you don't?

They could have done nothing and just left the adverts for child prostitutes there.

But then they'd be summoned to a hearing because they hadn't censored them.

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Why not just leave them there?

If people are stupid enough to advertise illegal and repugnant services on a medium that allows them to be tracked down and arrested then I don't see what the problem is. Let them do it. They'll certainly be caught, prosecuted and jailed a lot faster than if they offered those services in a more discrete way.

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FAIL

Agreed

I couldn't agree more with you Dy.Xym, Your 100% correct . Perhaps the police are pissed about having to investigate them all so they would rather not see nor hear about them at all. Thats my 2¢

Dr.Xym you must know by now , that anything that makes sense and is being done the right way needs to be changed immediately.

We can not have anything running properly & you know it isnt the police that are making C/list change their ads it's the common House wife thats afraid of her husband stopping after work to get a nice oily back rub so to speak . Also that guy that was running around killing people after he dates hem might have had something to do with it. The trouble with doing it now "Shutting them off now" is the police will have to start all over spend more tax payers money to find out what web site they have changed to . its kind of like blowing out one of those trick candles that re light accept this candle lights up on a different part of the cake http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/fail_32.png

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WTF?

How can there be profits?

if they have to pay for lawyers to read every single post?! unless it costs £50 a post I can't see how they make any money with the amount lawyers charge.

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Silver badge

Do the math(s)

The key is it probably only took two or three minutes to review an ad. At $10 per ad (the actual price, IIRC) that's $200 dollars an hour. Quite respectable even for a lawyer. Plus they no doubt used the cheapest lawyers available. Also reposting an ad cost $5, even though but it wouldn't have to be screened again.

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WTF?

Being harassed by 17 out of 50 states?

isn't enough reason?

"But the site has not explained why it lost patience and removed the section at the end of August. This followed ill-informed attacks by 17 US Attorneys General."

Seriously most people would have given up long ago. Why do all the headlines read "Craiglist - self censors". They are being harassed and intimidated.

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Flame

Land of the free...

...and the home of the twat.

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Unhappy

Craigslist behaved responsibly

IMO, Craigslist behaved responsibly in trying to isolate the controversial advertisements.

The real problem is that present incumbents holding office seek some controversy on which to base their next election drive. This includes some judges, in the U.S.A.

These incumbents ignore more scattered targets both on the InterNet and in other media as Craigslist provides an easy target.

Of course, the Washington politicians are more interested in constitutionally protected freedom of speech.

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Dear Congress

17 Attorneys General thought that we were making it far too easy for them to find the kind of idiotic child trafficking pimps who handily published their details in a form that makes it trivial for any semi-competent prosecutor to track them down in meatspace.

So we've decided to drive the marketing for the trade back to local newspapers, public toilets, lamp-posts and phone boxes, just as the Founders intended.

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Pint

Not To Mention...

...the hundreds of chatrooms such as YAHOO.COM and the encrypted 1-US.US.

I recall trying to open an 18+ dance club in a rural venue. The reaction was "Every drug dealer in trhe county will be in the parking lot." This seems to me to be very convenient for the anti-drug crowd (in this particular jurisdiction, pot enforcement was so successful that only crystal meth was available) but I was never able to get the club open due to political pressure.

It's easier to just sit back and enjoy a brew (which was illegal for many years.)

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I assume...

it's because they wanted to drive both legitimate (hookups) and illegal (prostitution, CP, whatever) stuff back underground and make it a lot harder to track down by the authorities. No?

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Nothing to see here.

The problem for CL as a business is that every time some John murders a woman he met on CL, or a child gets pimped, it's a bad hair day for their marketing team and by extension their business model. I'm surprised they allowed ads like that in the first place.

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FAIL

Why

Why pray tell; are they appearing before a Congressional comittee? This is a private business making private business decisions. Congress needs to butt-out and work on something usefull for once. Like cutting spending on useless pork projects.

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50/50 joking/serious

"Why pray tell; are they appearing before a Congressional comittee?"

Well, maybe the Congressmen were put out that censoring adult ads leads to less congress?

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Pint

Being an American...

Can I upvote PaulK's comment about +1000? And apologize for my idiotic intolerant fellow citizens? I swear to god half of them don't have two brain cells to rub together.

I'm from Florida, so I just got a way too up close and personal eyeful of that Koran-burning fool in Gainesville. Really depressing. I need a drink.

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Pint

Cheers!

I'll drink to that.

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Silver badge
FAIL

private site = no first amendment.

The only reason I could see for Craigslist being called to congress (the opposite of progress) would be to confirm that they felt they were under pressure from government entities to remove the section.

Remember the US first amendment prohibits the GOVERNMENT from censoring, but there is no such prohibition on private entities and website owners.

(Malls are different because the mall management is the government of a multioccupancy site. Attempts in US courts to liken websites to shopping malls were tried repeatedly in the 1990s by spammers trying to prevent their cruft being removed and failed every time.)

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Gold badge

The hypocrisy...

is, in the very same newspaper that originally "broke" the story of Craigslist having ads for prostitutes (erm, "exotic" massages, escorts, and the like), the very paper that broke the story had MORE ads for these services than Craiglist did! And while both the papers and states continue to harp on Craiglist, they continue to overlook the continuous stream of the exact same types of ads in dead tree form.

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Grenade

The phrase these papers live by and the one you're looking for is

"Do as we say not as we do"

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It might've been a hearing scheduled from previously

The hearing might've been scheduled, before Craig's List made their recent move - just that the subject of the hearing had to be adjusted, following those recent actions undertaken by the part of Craig's List, on top of their having provided - wasn't it said, by El Reg? then for some time previously - a lawyer team for investigating all the lot of advertisements for cedulity, themselves.

Seems to me that they have guns to stick by, so if I was them, I wouldn't be worried. ;)

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WTF?

Say what?

I get the impression some people have read this story as though congress called Craigslist and said "WTF did you shut that down for? We demand an explanation!" I think it should be pretty obvious that wasn't how it went.

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