Backpage shuts down adult advertising section, citing government pressure and illegal censorship.
Backpage, one of the world’s biggest categorized web sites, closed down its adult advertisement area for U.S. users Monday after a damning Senate report accused it of masking criminal activity consisting of child sex trafficking and prostitution.
The Texas-based web portal posted a red banner headline over its adult listings with the word “CENSORED,” adding in a statement that it had actually gotten rid of the section “as the direct result of unconstitutional federal government censorship.”
Backpage.com, among the world’s largest categorized ad websites and a regular target in the political battle versus sex trafficking, closed its adult advertisements section Monday in the United States, declaring to be the victim of a government witch hunt.
It follows efforts by federal government officials to close a service they contend promotes prostitution and human trafficking.
The bipartisan Senate Investigations Subcommittee report, which was released late Monday, said Backpage has “knowingly hid proof of criminality by systematically modifying its adult ads” for up to a years.
Backpage shuts down adult advertisting section, citing government pressure
The Texas-based web portal published a red banner headline over its adult listings with the word “CENSORED,” adding in a declaration that it had actually gotten rid of the section “as the direct outcome of unconstitutional government censorship.”
The remarkable relocation came shortly after the release of a scathing U.S. Senate report that accused Backpage of hiding criminal activity by deleting terms from advertisements that showed sex trafficking or prostitution, including of kids.
The relocation followed the publication of a Senate report that claimed Backpage.com had “knowingly hid evidence of criminality” by modifying advertisements featuring words connected with kid abuse.
However the site states its freedom of speech rights have actually been violated.
And it claims the ads had helped police track down missing children.
Hyperlinks on the site to its adult area now feature the word “censored” and direct users to a page that declares the business has actually been a victim of “unconstitutional federal government censorship.”
The adult section’s closure had been unanticipated.
Last month, a judge dismissed a case in which the Californian authorities had declared that Backpage’s chief executive and 2 of its ex-owners had devoted pimping offences and produced countless dollars by hosting sex trade advertisements.
The basis for the judgment was that US law specifies that website publishers can not be held responsible for content created entirely by their users.
And on Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal filed by three females who had actually alleged Backpage was at fault since they had been sold as prostitutes by means of the site when they had actually been as young as 15.
Online, Backpage published complete declarations from the company in addition to fans who view federal government efforts to shutter the website as unlawful efforts to stifle free speech.
” Like the decision by Craigslist to remove its adult category in 2010, this announcement is the conclusion of years of effort by federal government at different levels to apply pressure on Backpage.com and to make it too expensive to continue,” Backpage stated.
The website also stated that the end of its adult ads area would do little to end human trafficking.
Lois Lee, creator of Children of the Night, a Van Nuys-based not-for-profit that rescues kids from sex work, credited Backpage with helping investigators find missing out on or made use of kids and eventually prosecute pimps. She regretted completion of the website as a “critical investigative tool.”
” It’s a sad day for America’s children preyed on by prostitution,” Lee stated in a statement.
The site has actually long placed itself as a champion of online speech liberties and has actually depended on the Communications Decency Act of 1996, a federal statute that immunizes website operators from the content of users’ advertisements.
A Sacramento County judge cited the law in December when he tossed out pimping charges filed versus Lacey, Larkin and Ferrer by previous state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. A new set of charges was filed in late December, accusing the trio of laundering revenues from escorts as well as pimping kids and adult ladies.
In a different declaration, Lacey and Larkin praised their efforts to enhance law that secures online speech and personal privacy rights, and stated their years of legal fights, consisting of the current prosecution attempt by Harris.
The guys stated they intend to take legal action against Harris, who has because been elected to the Senate, for bringing the case despite understanding it “had no basis in law.”
Lacey and Larkin– the former owners of alternative weekly newspapers such as Phoenix New Times and the Village Voice– likewise said they offered their ownership interest in Backpage two years ago, opposing the Senate report. The congressional examination report states that Larkin and Lackey maintain “substantial financial and operational control over Backpage.”
” Today, the censors have actually prevailed. We get it,” the men stated in their statement.
But the shutdown of Backpage’s adult classified marketing is an attack on the First Amendment. We keep wishing for a more robust and untied Internet in the future.”
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