By David A. FahrentholdSaturday, September 4, 2010; 12:54 PM
Craigslist, the Internet's iconic ad bazaar, has stopped allowing U.S. users to access its "adult services" ads.
On Saturday morning, the link to those ads - which had been criticized by prosecutors and human-trafficking groups as a tool for pimps and prostitutes - were replaced by a black box with the word "censored" in white letters. News reports indicated that the ads were still visible to users in other countries.
It's unclear, for now, whether the change is a temporary statement or a signal that Craigslist will stop allowing the ads.
A spokeswoman for Craigslist did not respond to e-mails for comment. The company's outspoken chief executive, Jim Buckmaster, posted no explanation on his official blog or his Twitter account.
In a statement, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) - who was among 17 attorneys general who last month asked Craigslist to shut down its "adult" section - said he welcomed "Craigslist's apparent decision to close" the section.
"We welcome any steps toward eliminating the adult services section and prostitution ads on Craigslist, as we have urged, and we are seeking to verify the site's official policy going forward," Blumenthal said. "If Craigslist is doing the right thing voluntarily in response to our coalition of attorneys general, it could set an example for others."