Those adult ads on BackPage.com are no longer a “thing,” after a scathing Senate report uncovered a world of prostitution and sex trafficking.
The report, which was released ahead of a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing on Tuesday in which Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer and other top company officials are scheduled to testify, is the latest turn in local and federal lawmakers’ effort to press the company to stop publishing certain adult services ads.
Backpage issued a statement saying that they will continue to fight for their First Amendment rights:
“The decision of Backpage.com today to remove its Adult section in the United States will no doubt be heralded as a victory by those seeking to shutter the site, but it should be understood for what it is: an accumulation of acts of government censorship using extra-legal tactics,” Backpage said.
The report said Backpage has “knowingly concealed evidence of criminality by systematically editing its adult ads” for up to a decade.
The report also said Backpage officials know the site facilitates prostitution and child sex trafficking.
“Backpage moderators told the Subcommittee that everyone at the company knew the adult-section ads were for prostitution and that their job was to ‘put…lipstick on a pig by sanitizing them,’” the subcommittee alleges in the report.