SC Launches Criminal Investigation Into Craigslist

Last week Craigslist folded and announced that it would no longer offer a section for advertising Erotic Services, following South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster's threats of criminal charges if the section was not removed.

At the time, Craigslist CEO, Jim Buckmaster said that the changes were a response to feedback from the likes of McMaster. "It was a balancing act where we’re trying to respond to feedback to constituencies that we felt were important. When you’re talking about attorneys general who are the top legal authority in their respective states," explained Buckmaster. "That was feedback that we felt was important to take into account," he said. "We’re optimistic that we’ve struck the right balance."

Today Attorney General McMaster’s website displays a message claiming that advertisements for prostitution and “graphic pornographic material” still appear on Craigslist and were not removed as requested. The post goes on to say that Craigslist leaves them no other alternative than to go ahead with the previously threatened criminal investigation and potential prosecution.

“As of 5:00 p.m. this afternoon, the craigslist South Carolina site continues to display advertisements for prostitution and graphic pornographic material. This content was not removed as we requested. We have no alternative but to move forward with criminal investigation and potential prosecution."

There's nothing else offered in the post and it's still not clear as to what McMaster means by saying Craigslist 'continues to display advertisements for prostitution and graphic pornographic material." We're wondering if he realizes that the Erotic Services section was set to stay active for seven days (but not accept new listings) before shutting down completely.

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  • squatchman
    Maybe Henry McMaster doesn't understand the concept of user generated content. How far does he want to go before the powers at Craigslist feel it cheaper to just block requests from SC?
  • jerreece
    Sorta related to the whole Pirate Bay situation (albeit different crimes). The similarity however, is both sites host services that allow OTHERS to post whatever they want, 'somewhat' unhindered.

    What McMaster's needs to understand, is that for Craigslist to police every single posting, would be a HUGE undertaking. Which is why many sites like this rely on users to click the "Report Abuse" button in effort to assist in policing the site.

    Without a human checking each posting, it's near impossible to prevent the ads that McMaster's is up set about. All you have to do is post a listing with a .gif or .jpg, which contains images or text that gets your point across. Doing such, any software code Craigslist writes, won't be able to necessarily prevent someone from posting entries which mention sexual services through scanning text.

    It'll be interesting to see how this one unfolds, should it ever become an issue that goes to trial. Cases like this, and the Pirate Bay case, will become case law that has a huge affect on everything Internet in the future.
  • tenor77
    Another case of a douche being out of touch with technology and want it to be something it isn't.