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EMAILED ON March 26, 2018 BY THE HUSTLE

Craigslist axes its ‘personals’ section in response to new sex trafficking legislation

As of last Friday, Craigslist’s famed freak-flag is no longer flying: The company decided to take down their personal ad section shortly after the Senate voted to pass the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act — a bill designed to crack down on sex trafficking on the internet.

In a statement on their website, the company explained it did not want to take any chances that could jeopardize their business, “as any tool or service can be misused.”

FOSTA comin’ in hot

Last Wednesday, the senate voted 97-to-2 in favor of changes to the Communications Decency Act, a law that has guarded website operators from liability for content posted by internet ghouls since 1996.

The bill would hold websites accountable for hosting sex trafficking content by allowing authorities to pursue sites that knowingly permit it, and will also allow victims of sex trafficking to sue such sites for damages.

Sounds great, right?

It’s complicated

The bill has pitted lawmakers against Silicon Valley companies and civil liberties groups yet again, as they fight to keep the government’s hands off the WWW. 

Many argue the bill will decimate free speech and lead to an “onslaught” of lawsuits against small websites that lack the resources to fully police user-generated posts, thus destroying the internet economy.

Many sex workers have also spoken out against it, arguing that it could actually censor victims of trafficking and endanger sex workers. 

The bill is expected to pass into law soon (pending President Trump’s signature), and in the meantime, websites will be battening down their sketchy hatches.

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