Published May 19, 2009
Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster is calling for an apology from S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, but the only thing Buckmaster is likely to get is a criminal charge of promoting prostitution in the state.
In a letter sent to Buckmaster on May 5, McMaster ordered Craigslist.org to remove within 10 days the portions of its S.C. pages that deal with the solicitation of prostitution and the posting of pornographic material.
Previous coverage: McMaster tells Craigslist to remove illegal content
Also concerning the attorney general is the unrestricted access to pornographic pictures, which minors can view.
“Many of the classified and communication services on the Craigslist site provide the public with a valuable service,” McMaster said. “However, it appears that the management of Craigslist has knowingly allowed the site to be used for illegal and unlawful activity after warnings from law enforcement officials and after an agreement with 40 state attorneys general.”
McMaster said he has no choice but to go ahead with the investigation and prosecution.
However, Buckmaster said that McMaster is singling out Craigslist and that other Web sites, including The State newspaper’s online classifieds section, have as many solicitation ads as Craigslist, if not more.
“Many prominent companies, including AT&T, Microsoft and Village Voice Media — not to mention major newspapers and other upstanding South Carolina businesses — feature more ‘adult services’ ads than does Craigslist, some of a very graphic nature,” Buckmaster wrote in his blog.
In November, Craigslist entered into an agreement with 40 state attorneys general and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to enact safeguards to combat unlawful activity and improve public safety on the Internet classifieds service.
But that does not go far enough to please McMaster.
“The Craigslist South Carolina site continues to display advertisements for prostitution and graphic pornographic material. This content was not removed as we requested. We have no alternative but to move forward with criminal investigation and potential prosecution,” McMaster said on his Web site.