Online web Craigslist who have been under siege from US attorneys general and advocacy groups has pulled the plug on their controversial adult services section in the USA but not in Australia.
In the USA visitors get a black and white bar that reads “censored”. However a visit to Australian Cities listed on bthe web site reveal that “erotic” service are still active allowing women to find other women, men to find other men and males to find females for sex at www.craiglist.com
The company has not said why it took the decision. Last year the San Francisco based company removed its “erotic services” section and replaced it with a fee-based adult category in response to pressure from 40 state attorneys general. It also adopted a policy of screening every advert.
the listing which are no different then what you find in most Australian newspapers including the likes of the Daily Telegraph, the Sun Herald or the Courier Mail have been described as a serious threat to morality in the USA.
According to the BBC Craigslist chief executive Jim Buckmaster said in May that Craigslist had “gone beyond fulfilling its legal obligations”. The site was “a leader in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation,” he said.
Right up untill last week critics accused them of helping to facilitate child prostitution.
The listings came under renewed scrutiny after the suicide in prison last month of a former medical student who was awaiting trial in the killing of a masseuse he met through Craigslist.
The BBC said that the latest move by Craigslist to close down the service was welcomed by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a persistent critic of both the erotic and adult listings.
“We welcome any steps toward eliminating the adult services section and prostitution ads on Craigslist, as we have urged, and we are seeking to verify the site’s official policy going forward,” he said.
“If Craigslist is doing the right thing voluntarily in response to our coalition of attorneys general, it could set an example for others.”
But in the blogosphere there has been broad support for Craigslist’s position.
“It is surely, though, splendidly naive to think Craigslist would somehow be alone in providing a forum for prostitution ads,” said Chris Matyszczyk on the news blog CNET.com.
“However, Craigslist is in the unfortunate position of being high-profile and successful and has become a very easy target in what is a far more complex and nuanced issue than the attorneys general are making out.”
And at Wired, Evan Hansen said: “Internet services may accelerate and exacerbate some social problems like prostitution, but they rarely cause them. The root of these issues – and their solutions – lie in the realm of public policy, not web sites.”