Craigslist Half-Heartedly Cracks Down On Prostitution

Remember that Oscar winner who allegedly used Craigslist to lure women to his place so he could rape them? Or the Craigslist Killer? Or that man who advertised on Craigslist for someone to rape his wife? After all these horrendous incidents, Craigslist felt pressured to get rid of their “Erotic Services” section and replace it with a less blatantly prostitutiony “Adult Services” section. What’s happened since?When they first made the switch back in May, we took a side-by-side look at some of the ads and determined that they were six of one, a half dozen of the other. Now that it’s been a few months, it seems like Craigslist is putting forth a halfhearted effort. Under its new policies, Craigslist’s staff monitors the adult ads and block those that include graphic images or seem to solicit prostitution. New adult listings cost $10 and re-posting is $5.

Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said the new adult category is for legal services only, including massages, exotic dancing, and escorts, and that any illegal activity is out of their control. “We are no more able to read the minds of people placing ads than are classifieds editors at newspapers and the Yellow Pages.” [San Francisco Chronicle]

Under the new system, shady posts seem to be getting more vague, and the people offering adult services are getting more creative and offering “good times” or “overnight companionship” rather than “sex.” A handful of crafty posters list their prices in “roses per hour,” code words often used in hooking. Others are migrating to the “Casual Encounters” or “Personals” sections, where postings are uncensored.

Does Craigslist really need to provide any kind of adult services, even legal ones?