Is Craigslist Right to Remove "Erotic Services" Category?


Yielding to national pressure, online classified giant Craigslist will remove its controversial “erotic services” ads and replace them with a new adult category to be closely monitored by the site’s staff, according to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

The purpose of this change will be "to bar flagrant prostitution and porn," the attorney general said in a statement. "We will be monitoring closely to make sure that this measure is more than a name change from erotic to adult and that the manual blocking is tough and effective to scrub prostitution and pornography.”

According to Reuters:

In April, Blumenthal had asked Craigslist officials to eliminate photographs in the "erotic services" and similar sections of the site, hire staff to screen ads that blatantly violate Craigslist rules and offer incentives for people who flag and report prostitution advertisements.

Craigslist has been under fire for its "erotic services" listings since the April 14th murder of 25-year-old masseuse Julissa Brisman, who advertised on Craigslist in Boston. Her alleged killer, Philip Markoff, a 23-year-old medical student, has been charged with numerous violent acts involving women on Craigslist.

"Closing the erotic services section -- a blatant Internet brothel -- should lead to other blocking and screening measures, and set a model for other sites, if Craigslist keeps its word," Blumenthal said.

However, there is another side to the decision. While nobody likes to see anyone harmed in any way, what about those who saw the "erotic services" section as a representation of free speech? Should the government be able to pressure a publisher into removing content -- even if a segment of society deems it harmful?


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