Hours after the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report [senate.gov] claiming that online classifieds website Backpage "knowingly concealed evidence of criminality by systematically editing its adult ads", Backpage shut down the U.S. adult advertising section [reuters.com] of its site:
The online classified advertising site Backpage.com abruptly shut its "adult" section on Monday, yielding to a campaign by state and federal government officials to close a service they contend promotes prostitution and human trafficking. The unexpected move came hours after a U.S. Senate subcommittee released a report accusing Backpage of actively editing posts on the site to remove evidence of child sex trafficking.
In announcing its decision, Backpage said it was the victim of government censorship. Backpage attorneys said executives would appear at a subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, but would not testify.
U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Claire McCaskill, however, said their subcommittee found Backpage had been far more complicit in sex trafficking than previously known. "Backpage's response wasn't to deny what we said. It was to shut down their site," they said in a statement. "That's not 'censorship' — it's validation of our findings."
On the same day, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal [nytimes.com] from three sex trafficking victims accusing Backpage of facilitating the exploitation of children. The Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that said Backpage is shielded from liability by federal law since the site's classified ads are posted by users.
Previously: Backpage's Dallas Offices Raided, CEO Charged With "Pimping" [soylentnews.org]
"Pimping" Charges Against Backpage Executives Dismissed [soylentnews.org]
California Attorney General Pursues New Charges Against Backpage CEO [soylentnews.org]