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Craigslist removes adult services section

Craigslist closed the adult services section of its website, replacing it with a black bar that says 'censored.' Critics – including 17 state attorneys general – likened the services to virtual pimping

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Craigslist closed the adult services section of its website Saturday, replacing it with a black bar that says "censored," just over a week after a group of state attorneys general said there weren't enough protections against blocking potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution.

The listings came under new scrutiny after the jailhouse suicide last month of a former medical student who was awaiting trial in the killing of a masseuse he met through Craigslist. Critics have likened the services to virtual pimping, while Craigslist maintained the site was carrying ads even tamer than those published by some newspapers.

Like many other free online forums, Craigslist typically does not review ads before they are posted by users. But in 2008, under pressure from 40 state attorneys general, Craigslist began requiring posters to provide a working phone number and pay a fee for placing an ad in what is now the adult services section. Several months later, Craigslist adopted a manual screening process in which postings are reviewed before publishing.

State officials believe Craigslist is still not doing enough to stop illegal ads from appearing.

The company said Saturday it would issue a statement on the matter, though it didn't say when.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, one of the 17 attorneys general who pressed for the change, said in a statement that he welcomed the change and was trying to verify Craigslist's official policy going forward.

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