So Craigslist has Closed its Infamous Adult Section

So you will be happy to hear that the hard working AG offices in the following states have managed to stamp out all vestiges of prostitution in their states;

Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Recently launching a stone carrying a note from their glass fortresses of puritanical perfection, they managed to get Craigslist to shut down the Adult Section. You see they have been painting a picture portraying the Adult Section as the deepest regions of hell when it comes to the evils of flesh trade, prostitution and illegal massages with "happy endings". So now they have achieved what they wished, the killed the peoples advertising medium. Guess they will have to learn some new marketing saavy and advertise elsewhere. Some of them may even take to the pristine streets of the previously mentioned states. Why I am certain these giants of moral turpitude could cite just how effective their war on drugs is as well. Funny, drugs have never had an advertising medium and yet they continue. We all know how effective the prohibition was.

I'll tell you what has really happened here. Tech news rules the press, everyone has tech thrown in their face every day. Prostitution is fairly universally frowned upon so its an easy target especially when you throw in a bit of lip service about forced prostitution. So here is a quick way to get yourself some positive press, condemn a tech company for people using their service to advertise a service they later illegally perform. Its kinda like condemning the Chevrolet dealership for the getaway car they sold the bank robber. But hey the press eats it up, especially print, any time they get to throw a stone at a competing product(free internet advertising) that's cost them millions can you blame them? So now thousands of busts that could have happened by a police department perusing craigslist cant happen, go hit the streets guys with your lowered funding due to the tough times, find them the old fashioned way and smile and wave at the notoriety the AG got for this stupid grandstand.

So why didn't Craigslist just filter this crap out? Craigslist has stood behind the same law that protects many online entities. Its known as section 230 of the communications decency act. This law basically protects an online service provider from being liable for the posts of their users as long as they do not actively edit their content. So this way they have been protected.

In other words craigslist put up a corkboard for y'all and whatever you put there you own, liabilities and all! If they started going through those posts and taking down ads for uncle Joes Tattoo parlor because he showed nude works and left behind a kiddie porn picture then because they left that picture behind they could be liable, this is something NO service provider wants and the reason why ISP's never in a obvious way filtered their newsgroups. It would have left them wide open for liability lawsuits from all over. So now you can see why Craigslist had to be hands off for their own protection and let law enforcement pass the liability to those really liable. So now instead of risking the chance of leaving that one illegal ad behind they have decided to eliminate the entire section. A smaller risk for them.

So the advertising is gone, the big bad evil has been driven underground. The only problem with driving anything underground instead exterminating it is that it will fester and eventually resurface in an ugly way. So these 17 states, lets see the #'s show me how much net effect you had!

A few other more eloquent posts.

http://www.buzzmachine.com/2010/09/05/regulating-sex-and-speech/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danah-boyd/how-censoring-craigslist-_b_706789.html
http://mashable.com/2010/09/06/craigslist-censorship/