Sex Trafficking Bill Kills Craigslist Personal Ads Section

HR 1865 makes websites more liable for what users do on their platforms.

This is a picture of a police sting.

Photo by Lezlie Sterling/Sacramento Bee/MCT via Getty Images

This is a picture of a police sting.

America’s (and by that I mean my) favorite pastime has seen its final days. Craigslist is putting the kibosh on it’s “Missed Connection” feature, so gone are the nights you spent perusing the romantically desperate messages of lovers who missed their chance to say hello. Craigslist decided to put an end to its personal ads after the U.S. Senate passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) on Wednesday.

HR 1865, “FOSTA,” empowers sex trafficking victims and prosecutors to sue websites that enable trafficking, unwittingly or otherwise. Tech companies oppose the bill, saying they can’t be held accountable for what users do on their platforms. Craigslist isn’t the only company taking preventative measures in the wake of the new legislation. Reddit also removed some of its subreddits and added a content policy “forbidding transactions for certain goods and services,” including sexual transactions. The company issued a statement, saying, “Keep in mind that Reddit is not intended to be used as a marketplace and takes no responsibility for any transactions individual users might decide to undertake in spite of this.” Reddit also cautioned, “Always remember: you are dealing with strangers on the internet.”

Craigslist also issued the following statement on the matter: “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 someday. To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through Craigslist, we wish you every happiness!”

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