Craigslist has entered into an agreement with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children NCMEC and the Attorneys General of 40 states to enact measures that it claims is targeted towards fighting child exploitation, but largely focuses on reducing spam and adult prostitution. The organizations issued a t statement today about the agreement, deed to prevent the popular classifieds site from being used for human trafficking, child exploitation, and "other illegal activities.
As part of the new measures, Craigslist has filed 14 lawsuits against businesses that offer services deed to circumvent the site's protections against misuse and evade Craigslist's Terms of Service. Craigslist is also sending cease-and-desist orders to a of other companies that offer such services, and plans to investigate those who engage in criminal activity in order to turn the information over to state AGs. Translation: it appears as if the company is suing spambots that make mass postings automatically, many of which are sexually-themed.
Additionally, Craigslist has already implemented a phone verification system for listings in the "erotic services" section.
This requires anyone who is listing an ad there to post a real that will be called before the posting goes live, another way of thwarting the bot spammers. It also allows Craigslist to blacklist phone s of those who post "inappropriate"which the company says resulted in an 80 percent reduction in ad volume there with increased compliance with the TOS.
Additionally, Craigslist has begun to charge a fee to post in the erotic services section typically, almost all postings on the site are free except for job listings.
The company believes that this should further reduce automatic postings and discourage people looking to use the site for illicit purposes from creating new listings. We are unequivocally committed to stamping out misuse of the site and to improving safety for Craigslist users, through preventative measures such as the ones we are announcing as part of the t Statement.
Although the new policies are supposedly meant to protect children, it's clear that Craigslist is making these sweeping changes in response to heavy criticism that the site facilitates prostitution. In fact, at least one of the Attorneys General involved in the agreement applauded Craigslist for that exact reason.
Of course, prostitutes who are in business online all already have working phone s, credit cards, and code words for what they're up to as do some child traffickers, unfortunatelyso we're unsure how these changes will ultimately reduce the prevalence of those activities by any ificant margin. In fact, the reduction of spam postings may actually make it easier for those people to operate business through Craigslist, since customers won't have to sift through as many fake before getting to the real thing. Erotic services are, erm Jacqui Cheng Jacqui is an Editor at Large at Ars Technica, where she has spent the last eight years writing about Apple culture, gadgets, social networking, privacy, and more.
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