Bye, Bye Personals: Craigslist Pulls Ads for Love and Sex in Wake of FOSTA Bill

Say goodbye to Craigslist ads for Pokémon hook-ups.

by Catie Keck

Craigslist is among the latest web publishers to be hit by the recent passing of the States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), with the site announcing this week that it was barring its infamous and beloved “personals” section in the U.S.

Craigslist, the original online marketplace for everything from odd jobs to Pokémon hook-ups, said it was shuttering the section to avoid potential “misuse” in light of new parameters established by FOSTA that ostensibly could penalize websites for potentially facilitating sex-trafficking. “Any tool or service can be misused,” the site said in a statement. “We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.”

Craigslist personals ads had become something of a legend for yielding requests for everything from missed connections to casual encounters. In one particularly iconic post, later aggregated by Complex in 2015, the poster wrote: “42 dwm wants a man to come over and split a deep dish pep. and extra cheese. [It’s] large and very greasy. Come over and rub a slice on abs and chest. Let me see your ripped arms and legs covered in sauce and cheese put your legs up on the couch!”

Craigslist joins a list of other sites barring ads for potential sex work, including Reddit, which announced Wednesday that it was banning “paid services involving physical sexual contact.” Reached for comment on Thursday by Inverse, a Reddit spokesperson said: “Moving forward, we are prohibiting transactions that are either illicit or strictly controlled. Communities focused on such transactions and users who attempt to conduct them will be banned from the site.”

It’s yet to be seen how the change will affect both users, and indeed, the site itself. In recent years, financial outlets like the Wall Street Journal have reported on the attempt by startups to overthrow the online marketplace, which has managed to stick around since the mid-Nineties. For many, the death of Craigslist personals marks the end of an era.

In its statement this week, Craigslist added a parting word for its personals users: “To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!”

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