Without it, it’s likely that the social-networking-driven nature of the Internet as we know it today would not exist.
This is not the first time Craigslist listings have come under scrutiny in relation to sex trafficking.
“We were amazed at how many straight-identifying men and women were seeking same-sex hookups on the site’s sex forums.” This phenomenon inspired Reynolds to conduct an analysis of hundreds of Craigslist personal ads.
Even so, news stories of murders, rape and, most recently, fathers trying to sell their children for sex have only increased the sketchy reputation of the site’s personal ads. “Whether intentionally or not, mainstream journalists catalyzed a moral crusade.” That “crusade” culminated this past Friday in Craigslist’s deletion of all of its personal ads, save for missed connections.
“For the last decade, the press has labeled Craigslist as a hotbed for prostitution, using the website as a scapegoat for the U. This comes in response to a controversial new bill — a fusion of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) that the Senate voted 97-2 to pass last week.
But for the majority of LGBT people who have used Craigslist for decades, the deletion of the personals section amounts to the shuttering of yet another queer space — one that provided a free and accessible cyber haven for many wishing to explore their sexuality and gender.
“People would look at the ads and be shocked by how sexual they were,” said syndicated advice columnist Dan Savage, who also hosts a popular podcast, “Savage Love.” “It facilitated human connections that were not always exploitative or dehumanizing — I know people who are in 10- and 15-year relationships that began on Craigslist, that began with a hookup.” When I asked Savage what impact losing services such as Craigslist personal ads could have on the queer community at large, he paused and said, “It’s just hard to put into words.” For a generation that came of age with the Internet, Craigslist and its contemporaries were queer spaces where people could “tiptoe out of the closet” without having to risk outing themselves, Savage said.