Craigslist Pulled Its Personals Section In Fear of SESTA-FOSTA
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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This is a post to explain why Windermere Sun has turned down so many requests/orders for personal ads in WindermereSun.com .
How many of you out there have ever used Craigslist? It is an American classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums. The Craigslist founder Craig Newmark began the service in 1995 as an email distribution list to friends, featuring local events in the San Francisco Bay Area. It became a web-based service in 1996 and expanded into other classified categories. It started expanding to other U.S. cities in 2000, now covering 70 countries. In March 2008, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese became the first non-English languages Craigslist supported. As of August 9, 2012, over 700 cities and areas in 70 countries have Craigslist sites. Some Craigslist sites cover large regions instead of individual metropolitan areas—for example, the U.S. states of Delaware and Wyoming, the Colorado Western Slope, the California Gold Country, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are among the locations with their own Craigslist sites.
In 2001, the company started the Craigslist Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers free and low-cost events and online resources to promote community building at all levels. It accepts charitable donations, and rather than directly funding organizations, it produces “face-to-face events and offers online resources to help grassroots organizations get off the ground and contribute real value to the community”. Since 2004, the Craigslist Foundation has hosted eight annual conferences called Boot Camp, an in-person event that focuses on skills for connecting, motivating and inspiring greater community involvement and impact. The Craigslist Foundation is also the fiscal sponsor for Our Good Works, the organization that manages AllforGood.org, an application that distributes volunteer opportunities across the web and helps people get involved in their communities. As of summer 2013, the Craigslist Foundation’s functions are mostly moved to LikeMinded.org and the CraigsListFoundation.org is no longer updated.
During the past 22 years, Craigslist has helped many people in finding their jobs, bikes, boats, clothes, furnitures, dog walkers, etc. But in recent years, there had been several cases where few people misused or abused the Craigslist’s personals section, leading to victimization of some of the Craigslist users and subsequently the passing of HR 1865, “FOSTA” by U.S. Congress. Now Craigslist is concerned of being held liable for activities by some of the users of the Craigslist platform, and therefore has removed its personal section. This newly passed bill allows any third party website to be held liable for what their users do in regards to solicitation or sex trafficking. Reddit has also changed some of it’s rules regarding commerce as a result of this bill. This is Craigslist’s response to HR 1865, “FOSTA”, below, in italics:
US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.
Any tool or service can be misused. 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.
To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!
In the video of Lionel Nation above, Lionel pointed out, in italics, below:
….the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA, S. 1693) wouldn’t help punish sex traffickers. What the bill would do (PDF) is expose any person, organization, platform, or business that hosts third-party content on the Internet to the risk of overwhelming criminal and civil liability if sex traffickers use their services. For small Internet businesses, that could be fatal: with the possibility of devastating litigation costs hanging over their heads, we think that many entrepreneurs and investors will be deterred from building new businesses online.
Fundamentally, holding these website platforms liable is equivalent to requiring the hotels to be liable for any of the hotel guests’ activities, be it prostitution or otherwise. It is widely believed that SESTA-FOSTA is part of the encroachment upon First Amendment-Freedom of Speech. As indicated earlier in this post, Department of Justice, Office of Assistant Attorney General, Stephen E. Boyd voiced his concern regarding this bill/law in his letter to Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, Robert W. Goodlatte (please click HERE to view the letter). ACLU (American Civil Liberty Union) also composed a letter delivered back in November of 2017, voicing its opposition to SESTA, (please click HERE to view the letter), excerpt in italics, below:
We are concerned that the bill would significantly chill the explosion of online political, artistic, and commercial speech without improving the plight of sex trafficking victims. While it doesn’t ultimately address those concerns, the Manager’s Amendment makes important improvements to the bill.
In March of 2018, Senator Ron Wyden has proposed two amendments to H.R. 1865, one would provide some protections to online platforms engaged in moderating their sites (the “Wyden Amendment“). The Wyden Amendment means that these providers do not have to police their sites perfectly. While ACLU continues to oppose the underlying bill as a whole, ACLU recommended a vote in favor of the Wyden Amendment as a positive step in offering some protection to responsible online platforms and lessening the possible impacts on the scope and diversity of access to online content.
Much remains to be seen. Drop a call/text/email with your respective Congress-person if you’re concerned.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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