Users of the website and its CEO grouse that the Internet is still full of sites where people can find prostitutes. As for the massive online classifieds site itself, many personalwhich remain on the site, appear to be thinly veiled solicitations of sex for sale. State attorneys general had pressed Craigslist to do more to block potentially illegal promoting prostitution, and hailed the company's decision to take down its adult services section on Saturday.
But like other illegal online activities targeted with prosecution or lawsuits, including gambling, child pornography and unauthorized music downlo, shutting down one outlet simply sends many users running to others. John Palfreya Harvard University law professor and co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said the move from Craigslist was still a victory because it moved the off a highly visible location.
The answer is almost certainly," he said.
I think the answer is probably not. It's unclear if the shutdown is permanent.
A black bar reading "censored" remained in place on the company's U. Erotic services on non-U. The company ly said it would issue a statement on the matter, without saying when.
Attorneys general from 17 states sent Craiglist a letter last month demanding that it take down its adult services section, saying the company was not doing enough to deter prostitution and child trafficking. Whether Craigslist could be found liable is a murky legal issue, but pressure on the company grew after some highly publicized incidents where authorities said encounters set up through Craigslist ended in violence and even death.
A former medical student, Philip Markoffwas accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craiglist. He committed suicide last month in the Boston jail where he was awaiting trial. Craigslist, which is largely free, has been under prosecutors' scrutiny for years.
It tried to police the postings on its adult services by charging a fee to post the and requiring them to be vetted and approved. The section carried for a variety of erotic services, including personal massages and a night's companionship, which critics say veered into prostitution.
Some still carried in Craigslist's personals section look like they could fall in similar territory. Craiglist's personalwhich are free, are not regularly vetted. Ryan Caloa senior research fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, said for sexual services could become harder to monitor if they begin migrating back into the personals.
Those trying to sell sex who give up on Craiglist have many other sites to choose from.
As Craigslist users complained about the company's move in postings Sunday, some rattled off the names of other sites where they could find the same services. Getting such removed from other sites is the next goal, said Malika Saada Saarexecutive director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rightsa group that has been involved in pressuring Craigslist to block adult services .
Palfrey said Craiglist's decision is likely to cause operators of other online classified s to think twice about the on their sites. In a May blog post, Craigslist's Buckmaster said the company's were no worse than those published by Village Voice Media.
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