If you were one of the people who were avid in searching for “Adult Entertainment” on Backpage in the United States, well we have some bad news for you. One of the world’s largest classified ad websites, is no longer featuring adult services anymore after mounting pressure from the US government.
Backpage has been the target of frequent political and law enforcement targeting for allowing such ads to be placed on the website. The move to censor the adult services on the website came about after the release of a US Senate report. In the report, Backpage was accused of removing terms from posted ads about any possibility of sex trafficking and prostitution. Those under the age of 18 were also claimed to have been featured on some ads and resulted in backfire for the online classifieds.
The ads were still posted and it seemed as if the website cleaned them up intentionally. This was being done, supposedly, instead of cracking down on such advertisements.
Similarity to Craigslist
For those of you who do not remember, Craigslist also had a pretty active adult section. This is where various services were offered and hundreds of ads could clearly be seen as those by escorts and other independent adult workers. The same was the case for Backpage.
An announcement citing the similarity was made by Backpage on Monday,
“Like the decision by Craigslist to remove its adult category in 2010, this announcement is the culmination of years of effort by government at various levels to exert pressure on Backpage.com and to make it too costly to continue,” it said.
History of Trials for Backpage
Pressure on Backpage.com has been exerted for a number of years now. In late 2016, the company CEO, Carl Ferrer, was arrested on pimping charges. Those charges were eventually dismissed by a court in California, but things were only getting tougher down the road for the Dallas based executive.
For now, the website isn’t forced to completely shut down due to the federal law which bubbles the website for just hosting content. In reality the website never claimed it has been the creator of such content and is only showing what users post on it. Regardless, Backpage.com is committed to fighting the charges and its battle for online freedom according to a statement:
“This will not end the fight for online freedom of speech,” the website said. “Backpage.com will continue to pursue its efforts in court to vindicate its First Amendment rights and those of other online platforms for third party expression.”
Do you think the government did the right thing or is just violating freedom of speech for online communication channels? Should other websites like Backpage.com undergo similar treatment? Let me know what you think in the comments section below or on the TechBizWeb Facebook page.