If you’re online cruising Craigslist for a eunuch hooker who’s willing to use its teeth to massage between your toenails and who MUST be unmarried, discreet, and absolutely positively not a weirdo please(!), you’ll have to take your business elsewhere, as the infamous oddity we call the adult ads section has recently been censored.
BBC: The company has not said why it took the decision, but it has faced an ongoing barrage of criticism from attorneys general and advocacy groups.
They have claimed the listing was a virtual tool for pimps and prostitutes.
That Craig (may I call you Craig?) has been tight lipped about exactly why the section was taken down, and so suddenly, should signal something swimming just below the surface here (it usually does anyway), but as of right now it’s anyone’s guess just what the greater issue is.
Could it perhaps be something more serious than any of us yet imagine, maybe a pending court action related to Craigslist Killer Phillip Markoff? Or is it simply their corporate conscience (we’re so often told that corporations have them these days).
Only one thing is certain: with the loss of the adult section, craigslist also loses one of its main sources of income, rendering the decision in many ways similar to human on a hunger strike.
New York Times: The ads in the adult section, which cost $10 to post and $5 to repost, are a big revenue source, analysts say. Craigslist is private and does not report financial figures. But adult ads are expected to bring the company $36 million in revenue this year, according to the Advanced Interactive Media Group, an organization that analyzes Craigslist.
But no one seems to be talking about how the oftentimes intentionally outrageous section of the popular site is also a major outlet for a number of avant-garde artists posting their own unique and satirical brand of art that uses the public space of the web as a tactical medium.
It’s an unfortunate fact that by censoring our access sexuality (unethical though much of it may be), Craigslist also self-censors what should perhaps be considered a major contribution to the world of modern art, much less personal freedom.
It shouldn’t, then, surprise us that Craigslist, for its part seems more than well aware of this and intent on sparking the debate.
New York Times: Some Internet law analysts said on Saturday that Craigslist could be sending more than one signal — that it was both capitulating to law enforcement and thumbing its nose at it.
“There are multiple ways in which to censor speech — one is directly through the courts, and the other is through a form of protest that says, even if you can do this, stop doing it,” said Thomas R. Burke, a lawyer at Davis Wright Tremaine who specializes in Internet law and is not involved with Craigslist. “Maybe their point in saying they were censored is that people need to understand the law better.”
What would we think, I wonder, if Google — a company positioned much farther up the computing cloud than Craigslist — had done something similar: no searching sex personals, no searching sex at all? When it too begins to exercise some suicidal self-starvation self-control and “[do] the right thing voluntarily” won’t we all be better off?
Couldn’t this action be itself a kind of artwork to get the people talking, its own form of tactical media: just look at that hideous PMRC style ‘censored’ bar and try to take it seriously.