Last week Craigslist bowed to pressure from the attorneys general of many states and cut its Erotic Services classifieds section, replacing it with more closely monitored Adult Services ads.
But that, it seems, wasn’t enough. South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has announced that he will stake further steps against the classifieds site, saying:
"We have no alternative but to move forward with criminal investigation and potential prosecution."
That’s brought an impassioned defense of Craigslist from its boss, Jim Buckmaster. In a blog post, he wrote:
"South Carolina Attorney General, Henry McMaster, today announced that our recent improvements, which go far beyond measures he himself personally endorsed with his own signature six months ago, not only aren’t good enough, but actually require a criminal investigation.”
"He evidently feels justified in singling out Craigslist for investigation, and publicly condemning me personally as being worthy of criminal prosecution."
"Mr. McMaster, I strongly recommend you reconsider and retract your remarks, and positively affirm that you have no intention of launching criminal investigations aimed at any of these upstanding companies, because in truth none of them are deserving of such treatment. Certainly when it comes to craigslist, by any objective standard your threats and accusations are unreasonable and unfair."
"We’re willing to accept our share of criticism, but wrongfully accusing craigslist of criminal misconduct is simply beyond the pale. We would very much appreciate an apology at your very earliest convenience. As I’m sure would all of the other fine companies whose executives you’ve called out as criminals."
Buckmaster pointed out that other sites and publications in the state offer more explicit ads than could be found on Craigslist.
A total of around 40 million ads are posted on Craigslist every month.