Dating personals personal
But as of Friday, the Craigslist personals section is no more.
Consider it one of the first—but certainly not the last—casualties of new legislation passed by the Senate this week 97-2.
Prostitution, mind you, is not sex trafficking, which has a distinct meaning both colloquially and under the law.
In the simplest terms, prostitution involves consent and sex trafficking does not.
Under current law, the site can't be held legally liable if someone uses veiled terms to solicit commercial sex—aka prostitution—through the Craigslist personals.
But FOSTA will change that, opening up Craigslist (and every other digital platform) to serious legal and financial jeopardy should it accidently "promote" or "facilitate" prostitution.
For countless folks who came of age in the 00s, finding a partner via the Craigslist personals section was a rite of passage.
I remember pouring over the ads with friends, amazed at the sheer variety of sexual and romantic asks and desires out there, the strange and tantalizing mix of anonymity and eros and possibility.
"We can't take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!
before, on, or after such date of enactment." This is what's known as an ex post facto law, and it's explicitly forbidden by the U. Rather, it's imposing serious burdens while at best doing nothing for trafficking victims and quite likely making their lives worse.
For one thing, it incentivizes law enforcement to go after third parties rather than stop traffickers or rescue victims.
It protects web platforms from being sued in civil court or criminally charged by state prosecutors for third-party (i.e., user-posted) content.
(It doesn't apply for federal crimes.) Section 230 says that unless they create the content in whole or part, these platforms shall not be treated as the speaker of such content, and good-faith efforts at content moderation (like banning ads that explicitly mention illegal acts or auto-filtering out content that contains prohibited words) do not change this.
This is because the core of FOSTA makes it a federal crime to "promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person," punishable by up to 10 years in prison, plus fines.