What’s Behind Craigslist’s Self-Censorship?

potential 17 state attorneys general in court.

Strategic Ploy?

Craigslist’s adult services shutdown might be a ploy to draw “attention to its fight with state attorneys general over sex ads and to issues of free speech on the Internet,” according to The New York Times. If that’s the case, Connecticut State Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal told the Times he won’t be taken in by it. “If this announcement is a stunt or a ploy…they would be in a sense be thumbing their nose at the public interest,” Blumenthal told the Times.

The fact that Craigslist has put a censored banner where the site’s adult services section used to be certainly suggests Craigslist was interested in drawing attention to the issue. There are also many reports that Craigslist earns about one-third of the site’s revenue from adult services listings. The implication being that it needs to draw attention to this fight just to survive financially.

Craigslist’s earnings numbers are based on estimates from groups such as the classified advertising consultancy Advanced Interactive Media Group. AIMG says adult services will be about 30 percent of Craigslist’s estimated $122 million in revenue for 2010.

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Ian Paul, PC World

What's Behind Craigslist's Self-Censorship?Craigslist left everyone guessing why the site decided to close its adult services section on Friday by replacing the steamy destination with a “censored” banner. The online classifieds Website took action without releasing a statement and has so far refused comment. Craigslist’s adult services section housed sexually explicit ads for escorts, masseuses and similar content. The move comes after 17 state attorneys general pressured the site to stop displaying its adult services section.

Without a definitive answer, Craigslist’s abrupt move has left others to fill in the blanks about the shutdown. Some say it’s a protest meant to draw attention to the site’s first amendment rights. Others wonder if it isn’t a strategic ploy to appease advocacy groups and law enforcement. It is also possible Craigslist simply doesn’t have the wherewithal to face off against a potential 17 state attorneys general in court.

Strategic Ploy?

Craigslist’s adult services shutdown might be a ploy to draw “attention to its fight with state attorneys general over sex ads and to issues of free speech on the Internet,” according to The New York Times. If that’s the case, Connecticut State Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal told the Times he won’t be taken in by it. “If this announcement is a stunt or a ploy…they would be in a sense be thumbing their nose at the public interest,” Blumenthal told the Times.

The fact that Craigslist has put a censored banner where the site’s adult services section used to be certainly suggests Craigslist was interested in drawing attention to the issue. There are also many reports that Craigslist earns about one-third of the site’s revenue from adult services listings. The implication being that it needs to draw attention to this fight just to survive financially.

Craigslist’s earnings numbers are based on estimates from groups such as the classified advertising consultancy Advanced Interactive Media Group. AIMG says adult services will be about 30 percent of Craigslist’s estimated $122 million in revenue for 2010. Leer más “What’s Behind Craigslist’s Self-Censorship?”

Texas Attorney General Investigates Google Search

For instance, the Department of Justice has asked for more information to review Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA, the flight information company. The government will look at issues of search fairness as part of that inquiry.

The Texas attorney general has asked Google for more information on several companies, Google said. They include Foundem, a British shopping comparison site, SourceTool, a business search directory and myTriggers, which collects shopping links.

In the Google blog post, Mr. Harrison drew an association to Microsoft. He said that Microsoft funds Foundem’s backer and that its antitrust attorneys represent the other two.

Foundem is a member of the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace, a European group co-founded and sponsored by Microsoft. SourceTool and myTriggers are clients of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, the law firm that represents Microsoft on antitrust issues.


By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER

Google said Friday that the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, is conducting an antitrust review of its search business.

The examination involves the fairness of Google search results, a concept called search neutrality. Some companies worry Google has the power to discriminate against them by lowering their links in search results or charging higher fees for their paid search ads.

In a company blog post, Don Harrison, Google’s deputy general counsel, said that the company’s priority is to “provide the most useful, relevant search results and ads for users.”

“Given that not every Web site can be at the top of the results, or even appear on the first page of our results, it’s unsurprising that some less relevant, lower quality websites will be unhappy with their ranking,” Mr. Harrison wrote. Leer más “Texas Attorney General Investigates Google Search”

States Discuss Joint Probe of Google’s Data Collection


By MIGUEL HELFT

Google’s headaches over its collection of private data from Wi-Fi networks are intensifying.

Attorneys general from about 30 states are investigating whether Google violated any laws when vehicles used by the company to snap pictures for the Street View service also collected snippets of personal information sent over unsecured wireless networks. On Thursday, attorneys general from about 30 states participated in a conference call do discuss whether to join forces. Leer más “States Discuss Joint Probe of Google’s Data Collection”

Facebook’s Former Privacy Chief Criticizes ‘Instant Personalization’

by Wendy Davis
Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, now running for California Attorney General, wants voters to know he’s no fan of the company’s new “instant personalization.”

That much-criticized feature automatically shares users’ names, photos, friend lists and other information if they visit the sites of outside companies while logged in to Facebook. At launch the companies in the program were Microsoft Docs, Pandora and Yelp. [Más…]

Users can opt out, but privacy advocates as well as lawmakers like Sen. Chuck Schumer have said that Facebook shouldn’t share people’s information with unrelated companies unless users explicitly consent.


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

by Wendy Davis
Facebook‘s Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, now running for California Attorney General, wants voters to know he’s no fan of the company’s new “instant personalization.”

That much-criticized feature automatically shares users’ names, photos, friend lists and other information if they visit the sites of outside companies while logged in to Facebook. At launch the companies in the program were Microsoft Docs, Pandora and Yelp. Leer más “Facebook’s Former Privacy Chief Criticizes ‘Instant Personalization’”