New U.S. anti-sex trafficking law restricts internet content

The anti-sex trafficking bill signed by President Donald Trump is forcing internet sites to reject sex-related ads. Sites such as Backpage had long defended their sex advertising on the grounds of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that that made providers free of liability for users’ content. The new law specifies that Section 230 does not apply to sex trafficking or prostitution. Backpage executives were charged a few days ago for facilitating prostitution, money laundering and selling teen-age girls for sex. (San Jose Mercury News, April 12, 2018, by Tom Jackman of The Washington Post)

Many are concerned about the ill effects of the law on internet free speech in making providers avoid any sexual content for fear of entanglements with the law. Craigslist has already scuttled its personals section to avoid trouble. (The Verge, April 11, 2018, by Adi Robertson)

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