Craigslist personals are gone. No more “w4m” or “m4m” or even “strictly platonic.” This famous little corner of the internet shut down in response to the Senate voting to pass the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), a law ostensibly meant to prevent sex trafficking but that puts sex workers in danger and, as we’re now seeing, curtails free speech online. (The House version of the bill, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), passed in February.)
On Thursday, Craigslist began serving visitors to all of its seven different personals sections with a notice announcing the closure. It reads:
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!
Craigslist already closed its adult services section back in 2010 following pressure from state attorneys general around alleged sex trafficking ads.