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Village Voice Media Backpage seized by U.S. Goverment
#1
4-6-2018

Village Voice Media Backpage seized by U.S. Goverment


Backpage was a classified advertising website launched in 2004. It offered classified listings for a wide variety of products and services including automotive, jobs listings, and real estate. In 2011, Backpage was the second largest classified ad listing service on the Internet in the United States after Craigslist.[2]

Backpage came under fire starting in 2011 for allegations that their adult services subsection was used for prostitution and human trafficking, particularly involving minors, and that the company took insufficient steps to prevent these practices. After a series of court cases and the arrest of the company's CEO and other officials, in early 2017 Backpage removed the adult services subsection from their website in the United States.

On April 6, 2018, Backpage was seized by the United States Department of Justice.

History

Near the turn of the 21st century, Internet-based classified advertising, particularly the website Craigslist, was having a significant impact on the classified advertising business in newspapers nationwide. Classified advertising in daily newspapers as well as weekly alternatives, suburban papers and community papers was moving to the free advertising model of Craigslist and other smaller websites.

In 2004, in response to this phenomenon, New Times Media (later to be known as Village Voice Media), a publisher of 11 alternative newsweeklies, launched a free classified website called backpage.com.[3] The foundation and traditions of free classified advertising and free circulation were part of the fundamentals of the alternative newsweeklies dating back to 1971. The Chicago Reader and the Phoenix New Times were pioneers in these operating philosophies.[4][5]

Backpage soon became the second largest online classified site in the United States.[3] The site included the various categories found in newspaper classified sections including those that were unique to and part of the First Amendment-driven traditions of most alternative weeklies. These included personals (including adult-oriented personal ads), adult services, musicians and "New Age" services.
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#2
Free Speech is dissapearing in the U.S. at a rapid pace.
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