On-line classifieds site Craigslist will be removing erotic-services listings from all U.S. cities beginning today. According to a press release issued by Connecticut’s attorney general Richard Blumenthal, the San Francisco–based company plans to eliminate the erotic-services section from its site within seven days. Users are already unable to post new ads to the category. A statement from Craigslist can be found here.
Content such as “escort services, sensual massage, adult Web cams, phone sex, erotic dancing, adult Web sites, [and] nude housecleaning” will be hosted on Craiglist’s adult-services section instead.
According to the FAQ page, Craigslist’s erotic services charged a small fee and required credit-card authorization from those wishing to post an ad to U.S. cities. There, Craigslist had commented on its decision not to moderate posts in order to “err on the side of respecting free speech and privacy rights, and to leave moral judgments to the greater wisdom of the craigslist community”.
Posts to the new section will now be reviewed and moderated by Craigslist staff. Ads will cost users $10 to publish and an additional $5 for each repost.
Blumenthal, head of a multi-state attorney general task force, believes that the move will “set a model for other sites” that are principally used to solicit sex.
The task force has been monitoring Craigslist closely since the much publicized murder of Julissa Brisman last month by alleged “Craigslist killer” Philip Markoff. Brisman, a masseuse, had advertised her services on the site.
Currently, Canadian users who create an account and have a phone number verified by Craigslist are free to publish erotic-services listings without charge. Craigslist has yet to comment on whether it will apply the changes to its erotic-services section to cities outside of the U.S.