Craigslist has announced the shutting down of their personals section indefinitely in response to Congress passing a law that holds websites liable for users who conduct criminal activity. The want-ad website used to have sections such as "women seeking women", "women seeking men", "casual encounters", and "missed connections".
In a statement on their website, Craigslist said:
"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 someday. To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through Craigslist, we wish you every happiness!"
Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/21055-FOSTA-SESTA-Has-a-Dirty-Hidden-Secret-gt-Why-FOSTA-SESTA-Must-be-Stopped">FOSTA/SESTA Has a Dirty Hidden Secret. > Why FOSTA/SESTA Must be Stopped</a>
Reddit has also shut down several "questionable" subreddits in response to the bill fearing repercussions as a result of the FOSTA Act. HR 1865, also known as the "FOSTA" Act, is directed at clamping down on sex trafficking and child abuse. The bill amends the federal criminal code to add a new section that imposes penalties on the person who owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service where criminal activity is present.
In addition, the bill establishes enhanced penalties including a fine, a prison term of up to 25 years. The bill will certainly help curb human trafficking and sex abuse but it certainly has some websites nervous that provide the means for people to communicate. This draws new questions about social media as well.
Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/20954-The-Internet-Bill-of-Rights-Petitioning-the-White-House">The Internet Bill of Rights - Petitioning the White House</a>
Will Facebook be held criminally liable for pedophile chat groups on their website? It seems that the new amendments offer authorities a wide berth of operating room and could even be used against YouTubers who have criminals communicating in their comment section.
It will take some time to see how these amendments play out in court, but one thing is certain, the online playing field for criminals just got a lot smaller. You can read <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1865">more about H.R.1865 here.</a>
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