Feds seize controversial classified ad site Backpage.com amid scrutiny

Feds seize controversial classified ad site Backpage.com amid scrutiny
© Screenshot

Federal law enforcement on Friday seized the classified ads site Backpage.com, which has been under scrutiny from lawmakers for allegedly enabling sex trafficking.

“Backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized,” reads a banner message on the site.

The Justice Department confirmed the website had been seized and said it would release more information later on Friday.

A number of agencies are participating in the law enforcement push, including the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

ADVERTISEMENT

The FBI's field office in Phoenix, where the site's founders reside, told The Hill that "law enforcement activity is occurring" but provided no other details. 

The Arizona Republic had reported that the FBI raided the home of one of the founders, Michael Lacey.

A Senate panel last year accused the site of enabling sex trafficking after a lengthy investigation.

Their findings led to a controversial piece of legislation that would make it easier to target websites with legal action for content posted by third parties. The bill passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly this year and is awaiting President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE’s signature.

Updated at 5:10 p.m.