Late last year, the government arrested the CEO of BackPage.com. At the time, it promised to shut the escort section down, but nothing happened.
But lo and behold, escorts everywhere logged into the adult escort section of BackPage to pay for an ad yesterday, only to get a notification that the site has been censored.
The section reads:
The government has unconstitutionally censored this content. What happened? Find out
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Donate to Children of the Night, an organization dedicated to rescuing children from prostitution.
Some advocates claim that BackPage was vital in rescuing child victims of sex trafficking and arresting pimps.
Children of the night released a statement on the closure:
“Gone is a critical investigative tool depended on by America’s vice detectives and agents in the field to locate and recover missing children and to arrest and successfully prosecute the pimps who prostitute children. I work with these law enforcement officers every day and have for over thirty years. The ability to search for and track potentially exploited children on a website and have the website bend over backwards to help and cooperate with police the way Backpage did was totally unique. It not only made law enforcement’s job easier, it made them much more effective at rescuing kids and convicting pimps.”
The men behind controversial website Backpage edited prostitution advertisements to remove indications of wrongdoing and promote sexual trafficking of underage girls, a U.S. Senate report released Monday alleged.
After the release of the report, Backpage removed “adult” ads from its U.S. web pages, replacing them with messages claiming it was the victim of “unconstitutional” government censorship.
“The goal is either to ‘suffocate’ Backpage out of existence or use the awesome powers of the government to force Backpage to follow in the footsteps of Craigslist and abandon its adult advertising section,” the company said in a press release late Monday evening.
Backpage, last valued at more than $500 million according to the Senate report, used an automatic filter to hide the true purpose of the ads, the report alleged.
“At the direction of CEO Carl Ferrer, the company programmed this electronic filter to … delete … hundreds of words indicative of sex trafficking (including child sex trafficking) or prostitution from ads before their publication,” the report said. “The terms that Backpage has automatically deleted from ads before publication include ‘lolita,’ ‘teenage,’ ‘rape,’ ‘young,’ ‘amber alert,’ ‘little girl,’ ‘teen,’ ‘fresh,’ ‘innocent’ and ‘school girl.’”
Once the problem words were stripped out, the ad would run, said the report, which contains allegations unproven in court.
This video is hilarious.