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McMaster declares victory; backs down in Craigslist case (Updated)



(Read caption) Many critics say Craigslist, the classified advertising site, is being unfairly targeted by law enforcement officials.

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Yesterday, after South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster asked that Craigslist remove its adult and erotic services sections, CEO Jim Buckmaster lashed out at McMaster on his blog:

Many prominent companies, including AT&T, Microsoft, and Village Voice Media, not to mention major newspapers and other upstanding South Carolina businesses feature more “adult services” ads than does craigslist, some of a very graphic nature... Have you fully considered the implications of your accusations against craigslist? What’s a crime for craigslist is clearly a crime for any company. Are you really prepared to condemn the executives of each of the mainstream companies linked above, and all the others that feature such ads, as criminals?

Buckmaster was furious, and by yesterday afternoon, support for Craigslist had poured in from all corners of the blogosphere. On one hand, the main issue here is culpability: are Buckmaster and other Craigslist employees effectively encouraging prostitution, as McMaster alleges? Or are they merely providing a platform for advertisers, as publications like the Village Voice and the Boston Phoenix have done for decades?


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