New Internet law forces Craigslist to shut down personal ads
Craigslist surprised its users Friday when it abruptly shut its personal ads sections just days after Congress approved a bill expanding the criminal and civil liability of website operators over user-generated content. President Trump is expected to soon sign the measure into law.
In a statement posted to Craigslist, the company said it did not want to jeopardize its business by continuing to accept personal ads. The following statement appears whenever a user clicks on any of the category links under the “Personals” column of the site:
“US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully. Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.”
In an attempt to curb sex trafficking, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) amends a bedrock law — Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — that helped the internet flourish by shielding websites from liability for outside content.
Reddit also shuttered sections of its website as part of a policy update that prohibited “paid services involving physical sexual contact,” but the company did not specifically call out FOSTA.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Reddit said the site added a section to its content policy “forbidding transactions for certain classes of goods and services. Moving forward, we are prohibiting transactions that are either illicit or strictly controlled. Communities focused on such transactions and users who attempt to conduct them will be banned from the site.”