Craigslist shuts down personal ads after sex trafficking bill passes


Craigslist has shut down its personals sections after Congress passed a measure intended to crack down on online sex trafficking. 

In a statement posted on its website on Friday, Craigslist said that it could not risk being held liable for postings made by users that may advertise sex or potentially illegal interactions. 

“US Congress just passed HR 1865, ‘FOSTA’, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully,” the statement reads, referring to the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.


“Any tool or service can be misused,” it continues. “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.”

The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA), passed by both chambers of Congress, amends a longstanding provision absolving online platforms of liability for content posted by their users, making it easier to target websites with legal action for enabling prostitution and sex trafficking.

The Senate passed the measure on Wednesday, while the House approved it last month. President Trump is expected to sign it.

Advocates for the legislation argue that it will help to curb the growing online sex trafficking industry. Opponents, especially in the tech industry, have argued that it amounts to a form of censorship and could make online companies vulnerable to lawsuits.

Craigslist wasn’t the only site to make changes after the bill passed.

Reddit on Thursday announced new rules banning trades of firearms, paid sex, false documents or currency. It did not mention FOSTA in their announcement. Reddit also banned some of subreddits including r/escorts, r/hookers and r/shoplifting.

Ali Breland contributed.

This story was updated at 11:12 a.m.

Tags Craigslist Donald Trump Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act SESTA

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