Backpage for Advertisement
Backpage is an advertising website launched in 2004. It offers a wide list of a variety of products and services including automotive, jobs listings, real estate etc. In 2011, Backpage was entitled to the second largest classified ad listing service on the Internet in the United States after Craigslist. AtlantischeBedrijven CV currently owns this advertising platform.
The site caught under controversy in 2011 due to an existing section that very few advertising websites have- an adult column. Also provided with sex services of all kinds. Most of the criticism centered on the fact that Backpage sold minors (i.e. underage sex trafficking). These contributed to a surge of prostitution in areas that they operated. The company was blamed for taking insufficient steps to stop such practices.
After many court cases and the arrest of the company’s CEO and several other officials, in early 2017 Backpage removed the adult services column from their website in the United States. Although it is claimed that the adult services shifted to the dating section of the site.
Due to many ongoing controversies, the website lost all credit card processing agreements. Bitcoin, the only option left for payment of paid advertisements. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said classifieds website Backpage.com has involved in nearly three-quarters of all reports of online child sex trafficking that it receives from the general public.
Backpage Legal Decisions
While many governmental, as well as non-governmental organization, against the site the writers for Forbes, the Huffington Post, and Fast Company of the view that Backpage a useful tool for law enforcement and helped the public in exposing the perpetrators of human trafficking. The Chicago police used Backpage for undercover sting operations. It posted online advertisements and received responses in no more than two minutes and got 100 calls till night. Thus many claimed that the site used to capture the culprits of such rackets and hence save the victims. Though, the website couldn’t find many supporters in this case. Beginning in 2011 a number of legal challenges initiated by foes of Backpage in attempts to eliminate the adult section of the website and shut down the website entirely.
After facing all the lawsuits and the heavy losses company finally decided to remove the adult content from its websites. It claimed that the reason behind this action was “due to many years of continuing acts by the government to unconstitutionally censor the site’s content via harassment and extra-legal tactics and to make it too costly to continue its legal publishing activities.”
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