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Craigslist Removes Adult Services Ads

The infamous section is now marked with a black bar labeled “censored.” The San Francisco-based classified ads service had faced intense public criticism for its adult services ads. Last month, 17 sta...

The infamous section is now marked with a black bar labeled “censored.” The San Francisco-based classified ads service had faced intense public criticism for its adult services ads. Last month, 17 state attorneys general wrote an open letter to Craigslist demanding that the ads be removed right away.

The attorneys general said that the growing public backlash against the ads were an indication that the Craigslist’s adult services section was being viewed as a haven for prostitution. The attorneys general explained that since Craigslist could not screen the ads, the company should stop posting them altogether.

In May last year, Craigslist shut down its erotic services section after the arrest of “Craigslist Killer” Philip Markoff and charges were filed against the company for allegedly facilitating prostitution. The lawsuit was dismissed in October by an Illinois judge who ruled that the company could not be held responsible for wrongdoing committed by its customers.

Since Craig Newmark began the classified service in 1995, Craigslist has gained popularity for being the service of choice for various online classified advertisements – housing, personals, jobs, community, gigs, discussion forums and others. But popularity soon became notoriety after the company got involved in controversies and illegal activities by users.

In September 2007, a Minneapolis woman pleaded guilty in federal court to running an underage prostitution service through the company. The following month, the body of another Minneapolis woman was found in the trunk of her car after she responded to a job ad for a nanny. The killer, Michael John Anderson, was convicted of the killing in 2009.

In 2008, Craigslist announced that it would crack down on malicious ads by requiring those who post erotic services ads to provide a phone number and pay a fee with a valid credit card.

In March 2009, a Cook County, Illinois Sheriff filed a lawsuit against Craigslist for consciously promoting and facilitating prostitution in its erotic services ads section. Craigslist explained it was impossible for the company to screen the huge volume of ads it receives daily nor was it required by federal law to do so.

In April last year, Markoff, a 23-year-old Boston University medical studentHealth Fitness Articles, was arrested on suspicion of murdering masseuse Julissa Brisman. Markoff was also accused of robbing a female escort days earlier. He committed suicide in his jail cell in August this year while awaiting trial.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Leonor Albino writes for Schooley Mitchell Telecom Consultants, North America's largest independent telecom consulting company. www.schooleymitchell.com



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