Craigslist's 'Regretful' Move Has It Axing Big Part of Site
Site takes down its personal ads section to avoid liability for prostitution promotions
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2018 7:21 AM CDT
This screenshot made on Sept. 4, 2010, shows the opening page of Craigslist for Hartford, Conn., featuring a "censored" logo over what used to be the adult services section.   (AP Photo/Craigslist)

(Newser) – Everyone who has visited Craigslist over the years to find a mate or gawk at the "Missed Connections," "Casual Encounters," and "Rants and Raves" sections is going to have to find a new gathering ground. CNET reports the online classified-ads site has shuttered its much-frequented personals section after an amendment to the Communications Decency Act got the green light from Congress Wednesday. The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, or FOSTA, legislation strips away protections offered by Section 230 of the CDA, putting websites on the hook for content that promotes prostitution. The intent of the bill is to go after online sex trafficking, which has been prevalent on classified-ads sites like Backpage.com. President Trump still needs to sign the bill to make it official, which he may do before the week is out, per Reuters.

"Any tool or service can be misused," Craigslist noted in a short statement. "We can't take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking ... personals offline." The FOSTA bill is also having an impact in other online spots, including Reddit, which nixed its Escorts, Hookers, and SugarDaddy subreddits after the bill passed, per Reason. Gizmodo notes that while the law could help tamp down on sex trafficking, it will also have a "chilling effect" by "actively [hurting] consenting sex workers" and causing portals like Craiglist to lose a significant portion of their sites. Craiglist says it hopes one day to reboot the ads, but in the meantime, "to the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through Craigslist, we wish you every happiness!" (Sometimes Craigslist ads are just used to find burger-grilling dads.)

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