It will also make it easier for victims of sex trafficking and prosecutors to sue companies that fail to keep exploitative content from their websites.In a statement posted to Craigslist, the company said it did not want to jeopardize its business by continuing to accept personal ads.Craigslist will no longer display personal ads on its website after the Senate voted to pass the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act yesterday.The bill means websites will be held liable for hosting sex trafficking content.Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries.We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market.
But, it has also sparked opposition from sex workers and some free-internet activists who say the bill is a form of censorship and will also place an unrealistic burden on small website operators.
The bill initially was controversial because it alters a key internet law that protects tech companies from liability for user-generated content on their platforms.
Previous criminal and civil charges against Backpage had mostly been derailed by that law, the Communications Decency Act.
Judges in California and Massachusetts previously cited Section 230 in dismissing cases against Backpage.
Still, some sex workers said the seizure could endanger them.A notice on Backpage’s website said the site had been seized by the FBI and other agencies.The banner states that the enforcement action was a collaborative effort between the FBI, US Postal Inspection Service, the criminal division of the IRS, the Department of Justice’s child exploitation and obscenity division, as well as attorneys general from Arizona, California, and Texas.Backpage's CEO was arrested in 2016 on charges of pimping by then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris, but a judge dismissed the charges two months later.