This is a quick and dirty post meant to capture some quick thoughts about Craigslist pulling down their Adult Services section.
Fact Company recently posted about Craigslist going to Washington. The article points out:
Civil litigators have been considering class action lawsuits on behalf of minors who say their abuse was enabled through the site. Another of tomorrow’s witnesses, Tina Frundt, Founder of the nonprofit Courtney’s House, says that the majority of kids helped by her nonprofit “have been trafficked through Craigslist.” Their average age when they entered prostitution was 12, she adds.
However, the site is “protected by a federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which exempts sites like Craigslist from legal liability for content created by users.”
As a content creator and designer of the digital products we use, this got me thinking about the greater ramifications across the web for anything currently in distribution or created in the future. What happens if the government does suddenly step in and begins to censor the content we consume?
Don’t get me wrong as a proponent of ending modern day slavery (aka human trafficking), I am one of the first to tell you that Craigslist putting an end to their Adult section is a good thing. Though it does worry me about where that traffic will be driven to now. Redbook? Other sites? I am not certain either way about how this affects the push to end slavery. My concern would be that it drives it further underground. However this post is not about that so let me return to my point.
If the government censors Craigslist, then who’s next? With enough pressure from the public do we censor others who will attempt to claim the right of free speech? How does that affect those of us in the digital space? Is the freedom of the web dead? Guess we’ll find out around 1pm EDT tomorrow when an announcement regarding Craigslist comes out tomorrow. Then we’ll see how this changes (if it changes) our landscape.