Beyond "Censored": What Craigslist’s "Adult Services" Decision Means for Free Speech

On Saturday, after years of pressure from law enforcement officials, Internet classified ad web site Craigslist bowed to demands to remove its “Adult Services” section which critics charged encouraged prostitution and other sex-related crimes. Or at least it appears that it did. Without explanation, following the latest in a series of open letters from state attorneys general decrying the third party content permitted on the site, Craigslist replaced the “Adult Services” link that formerly appeared on the front page of the site with a white-on-black “censored” bar. Whether this move will substantially affect the rate of illegal prostitution across the country remains to be seen. Many, even some of Craigslist’s critics, appear to have their doubts. If nothing else, however, this latest turn in the AGs v. Craigslist saga underscores the misguided nature of the AGs’ tactics as well as the fundamental disagreement that we (and Congress) have with the AGs’ vision of how the Internet should operate.

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