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Craigslist Personals, Some Subreddits Disappear After FOSTA Passage (arstechnica.com) 149

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In the wake of this week's passage of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) bill in both houses of Congress on Wednesday, Craigslist has removed its "Personals" section entirely, and Reddit has removed some related subreddits, likely out of fear of future lawsuits. FOSTA, which awaits the signature of President Donald Trump before becoming law, removes some portions of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The landmark 1996 law shields website operators that host third-party content (such as commenters, for example) from civil liability. The new bill is aimed squarely at Backpage, a notorious website that continues to allow prostitution advertisements and has been under federal scrutiny for years. In a bizarre turn of events, the Department of Justice also warned the House in February 2018 that the bill "raises a serious constitutional concern," as it would apply retroactively -- a seeming violation of the Constitution's ex post facto clause. Congress passed it anyway. The Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote in a blog post: "It's easy to see the impact that this ramp-up in liability will have on online speech: facing the risk of ruinous litigation, online platforms will have little choice but to become much more restrictive in what sorts of discussion -- and what sorts of users -- they allow, censoring innocent people in the process."
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Craigslist Personals, Some Subreddits Disappear After FOSTA Passage

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:14PM (#56315285)

    If they really wanted to reduce traficking, they just made it harder. It wasn't terribly difficult to suss out potentially bad CL ads. Guys looking for you to be "generous", and for the DEA guys, "let's go skiiing"... in Florida. By getting rid of this stuff, they just shut down a source where people were providing them with leads. Or maybe they were just embarrassed that they couldn't follow up on all that stuff.

    • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:18PM (#56315307)

      Exactly -- the ideal situation would be legalization between consenting adults so the industry is in the open and can be monitored for offerings that don't involve consenting adults. Harm reduction, same as with drug legalization -- let the people have their fun while rooting out the real bad actors.

      But American Puritanism (from both parties!) won't let such a rational policy be enacted.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How dare you support the exploitation of Womyn! Womyn's bodies belong to them, and it is purest misogyny to think that a Man can control that with money.

        captcha: cringe

        • by umghhh ( 965931 )
          Why is this marked as troll? Are we already pass the stage when we were allowed to laugh? Man 1984 is coming closed every day.
      • it would be a lot harder to press men and women into that kind of 'service' if they had their basic living expenses taken care of.
        • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @05:26PM (#56315741)
          You're free to pay for the basic living expenses of as many of them as you care to help.

          And even if you could be as virtuous as you'd like with everyone else's money, it wouldn't ultimately matter anyway. There are going to be enough men that want sex who are willing to pay for it that some women will engage in prostitution not out of necessity or for their survival, but because it allows them to earn extra money. This may surprise you, but some women like sex as much as most men, especially if they can be discerning in who they're hopping into bed with. If they can get paid for doing what they enjoy, who the hell are you to tell them what they're allowed to do with their bodies?

          Legalizing prostitution will do a lot of prevent the kinds of horrible conditions and abuse that many women find themselves in just as repealing prohibition meant that no one had to get shot or poisoned over bootleg liquor.
          • If they can get paid for doing what they enjoy, who the hell are you to tell them what they're allowed to do with their bodies?

            We're politicians that aren't getting the lion's share of the money changing hands, that's who!

            Now shut the fuck up and pay your taxes like a good slave! /s

            Strat

            • by dryeo ( 100693 )

              A lot easier to tax a legal business. It's also one of the arguments for legalizing marijuana, of course the right up here are just screaming about the children without stopping to consider we already have one of the highest amounts of usage by children. Same with sex, when our Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to ban prostitution, they just made it illegal to buy sex and put in regulations like no selling sex within a ridiculous distance from schools. They scream about free speech and being allowe

      • Plus, if it's in the open, it can be regulated and taxed. And then the "vendors" could form guilds / unions to collectively pool for health insurance making the entire enterprise that much safer.

        But all of those things (sex, taxes, unions, health insurance) are things this Republican Party are against.... so good luck with that.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"

    • I totally agreee. The people thinking this will change things are the same people who thought removing piracy search results from google would stop piracy. No, it only hides these places from the good guys even better and keeps more online.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:45PM (#56315447)

      When the effect of a bill differs greatly from what the bill's proponents are saying, that leaves us with only one conclusion: the bill's proponents are lying about their intent. It is popular to think of congressmen as stupid. They are NOT FUCKING STUPID. They know exactly what this bill will accomplish, and that is exactly what they want. Everything else is bullshit to win hearts and minds.

      They want to reduce Internet filth. There are too many websites with this kind of content all over them, and that garbage needs to be taken down!

      The potential harm to legitimate content that wouldn't qualify as filth is worth it, in their minds.

      Fairness and what-not are not considerations here. It's all about "cleaning up" then Internet, and that's it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Trafficking of who by whom?

      The answer is the same in all Western nations- by legal or illegal recent immigrants of teen girls, many of whom are illegal aliens themselves.

      A classic example of liberals will gnaw away at the basis of our Constitution and civilization itself rather than face a hard realityn you can't permit unfettered movement of just random people from just anywhere into your country if you want to maintain your rights, your civilization and your values.

    • But then Congresspeople can't make speeches about how they're protecting poor, exploited children and thus deserve your vote in November.

      Instead it actually protects poor, exploited children.

    • Guys looking for you to be "generous"

      Back in the '70s and '80s, This type of ad was the mainstay of numerous local tabloid "newspapers," that had just enough articles to qualify for the term. Almost all of them were for women, and many of them were looking for "generous men." There was a special section of personals for men, and I'd presume that at least some of them used the same wording, but I never bothered looking at them because that kind of thing never interested me. Back then, you could tell wh
    • There's more than one they. The DOJ specifically protested this law for the reasons you mention.

  • MOAR litigation! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:18PM (#56315301)

    You don't even need to censor people anymore, just ramp up the legal risk and they'll do it themselves.

  • by registrations_suck ( 1075251 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:18PM (#56315305)

    The good news is they FINALLY took Rants & Raves out of "personals" and put it under Community / Local News.

    I never did understand why it was under "personals" to begin with. I mean, most of the insults there were pretty personal - but even so - it did not seem to fit with all the other "personals" categories.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:24PM (#56315339)

    And laws like FOSTA are what we get as a result.

    Only Ron Wyden and Rand Paul voted against it.

    Every last one of the pieces of trash who voted for it need to be voted out of office.

  • With craiglist personals gone, I suppose the will loose revenue and eye balls. I wonder if this will be a boon to newspaper print since classified adds were a big money maker for them. IIRC newspapers are protected from these kind of lawsuits.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:28PM (#56315355)

    The transition of the Web from "Wild West" to "cable TV" continues.

    • The transition of the Web from "Wild West" to "cable TV" continues.

      Does anyone remember when the allure of cable was "No Commercials?"

      Get off my lawn!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I kind of saw the whole web 2.0 thing as the start of all this.

  • by Miser ( 36591 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:30PM (#56315367)

    Fire up those terminal emulators, folks!

    (or the real thing (vt320, vt220, vt525, wy60, etc) if you've got them)

  • There goes my weekend plan.

  • by Rakarra ( 112805 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:33PM (#56315385)

    Then where else am I going to find the best 100% heterosexual, no gay stuff, Manhood Camping [craigslist.org] where guys get around a fire to J/O?

  • Going forward I'll need to post all my personal ads on Trump's Twitter Feed. If everyone joined me he'd need to face liability, block us all, or shut it down. If only it were that easy.
  • Over the past few years it really seems like our government is hell bent on pushing internet facing companies out of the country.(USA)
    Why?

    • by jcr ( 53032 )

      One idea just occurred to me: an American service provider might demand a warrant before complying with a demand to provide information to a government agency, and might sue if their data is taken without a warrant. The NSA can break into any foreign computer with no repercussions at all.

      -jcr

      • The NSA can break into any foreign computer with no repercussions at all.

        -jcr

        That's not true, their repercussion is in the form of continued funding.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Have you looked at the B&O taxes in places like Seattle? The state charges us over 3 times more since we moved from manufacturing in about 1998 to completely Internet-based by 2005. Seattle's tax is almost twice as much for service companies versus manufacturing. Also, both the state and city's taxes are on gross so even if you lose money, you still have to pay a lot in taxes. Seattle is pushing hard to get rid of Internet companies.

      • Seattle is pushing hard to get rid of Internet companies.

        Nah, they'll just pass a law that businesses cannot leave Seattle if they have Seattle taxes due, and will make sure there's always a tax balance due on the ones they haven't bankrupted yet.

        Strat

        • Seattle does not have a standing army, nor is it feasible to block any and all moving vans from leaving city limits.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:53PM (#56315515) Journal

    What's that going to take, about an hour?

    -jcr

  • There is still a chance that Trump won't sign it. After all, this legislation hits home for him.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We'll be watching you very closely. If you're gonna cave, just shut the doors and turn off the lights. Up until now you have been the most censorship free site around. If you lose that distinction, there is no reason for you to exist.

    To the rest of you assholes, YOU voted for this, if you don't sweep all the incumbents out of the house and reverse this crap, fuck you sideways!

    To the technical talent, please bring back USENET, and make it unblockable, and tell the whiners crying about spam to learn how to wr

  • by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @05:34PM (#56315777) Journal
    Tinder is still working!
  • by gatfirls ( 1315141 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @06:01PM (#56315919)

    The fundies really did some good PR work to make human trafficking a synonym to prostitution.

  • by K. S. Van Horn ( 1355653 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @06:12PM (#56315977) Homepage

    "it would apply retroactively -- a seeming violation of the Constitution's ex post facto clause"

    Seeming? That's a clear, unambiguous violation of the Constitution's prohibition against ex post facto laws: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." There's no wiggle room there.

  • by K. S. Van Horn ( 1355653 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @06:15PM (#56316003) Homepage

    I've noticed that the term "prostitution" has been replaced by the term "sex trafficking" lately. This strikes me as deliberately misleading terminology, aimed at making people think that human trafficking -- that is, slavery -- is what is being targeted, when in reality it is certain voluntary transactions that are being targeted.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Every braindead conservative on the Internet is now crawling out of the woodwork to complain that YouTube and reddit are affecting MUH FREEDOMS by violating the First Amendment. It's almost like they have no idea what their own government is doing, or how their own Constitution works, or what rights private companies (that they love to defend against regulation) have.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Bear with me here.

    This is a good thing because the current makeup of the Supreme Court as mainly 'strict constitutionalists' (I won't say 'conservative' because that's a loaded term) means that most if not all of this bill will likely be struck down if/when any case gets to the Supreme Court and there's no doubt that someone with deep pockets will take it to the Supreme Court level as there's no way to meet the obligations of this bill with 100% accuracy. Further to that though while such a case may be abou

  • by BlueCoder ( 223005 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @07:56PM (#56316683)

    I remember when CL revolved the escorts section. I said then that they would move to casual encounters- the did; all be it slowing over a couple years. Now this... which only means they are either going to adopt another forum or just spam all the forums. I can't wait for this to reach the supreme court to be struck down for being overreaching and and an overburden.

    All forums all over the internet are going to be setup with bogus adds by unscrupulous attorneys. I can see many companies coming together showing all the money spent to censor this stuff but it only becoming more prevalent because attorneys can profit from inflating the problem. You are absolutely going to see adds all over big companies forums.

    Hey politicians in congress.... you just screwed over big business and speech at the same time.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan

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