From time to time, we in radio, have used Craigslist.org as a means for fodder on the air, or online. Be it telling some of the stranger Missed Connections, or some witty sale item, or whatnot. I've also definitely used it from time to time to purchase and sell music gear and such. And in this day and age of net neutrality, I was surprised to see a website like Craigslist make some pretty broad, sweeping changes to their content.

As of Friday, Craigslist has removed their entire Personals section. You can no longer use the site for simply finding a love connection, a hookup, or even a platonic friend for that matter. Craigslist made the change as  Congress passed HR 1865 on Friday, also known as Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, or simply FOSTA.

When I went to the Maine Craigslist today, at first I couldn't see that the changes had been made, and thought maybe it was still slowly taking effect. But if you click on any of the links in the Personals section, this pops up:

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 some day.

To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

 

You can still buy and sell stuff, like that crappy old car, or that stinky couch out of the shed. You can even still find your Missed Connection. According to an article on NPR.com, the law was written to:

...subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.

 

Craigslist wanted to get compliant with the new law as soon as possible to avoid any future conflict, especially since the website operates nationally. Monitoring that much traffic would be a nearly insurmountable task, and the risk for using the site inappropriately is too great. According to the same NPR.com article, Craigslist had this to say:

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 some day.

 

 

For me, this is no big deal. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who will be upset, but there must be other resources to find dates, and hookups, and any of the other myriads of secret uses Craigslist had. But I think I'll sleep a bit better knowing that an online resource I use so frequently will be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.