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As these ads go offline, we spoke to a 25-year-old man in New York who used Craigslist’s personal ads — specifically the casual encounters section — as a way of finding casual sex in his early 20s. He spoke to us on condition of anonymity, because, well, that’s what Craigslist personals were all about. It’s part of what made them successful, he thinks.
This week the U.S. Senate passed a bill to fight online sex trafficking, which could subject websites to more criminal and civil liability for the content that third parties publish on their platforms. As a result, Craigslist decided to remove its personal-ad section, posting the following statement: “Any tool or service can be misused. 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. To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!”
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Objective, non-emotional answer: Where will past users of Craigslist personals now go? Probably OkCupid or Bumble. I think that these two platforms have very much established themselves as data-based, efficient modes of matching. As they have gained popularity over the past few years, I think that they have cut into Craigslist’s market share - since Craigslist is essentially just a newsgroup that doesn’t offer a whole lot of functionality. Accordingly, I don’t think that this closure will displace a lot of folks.
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As I said, I haven’t used the platform in a matter of years - but the sentimental value of this part of the website is so high for me that it’s painful to see this happen. I still vividly remember the moment I saw her post and felt such a surge of excitement - and an even greater one when she emailed me back. So to see this disappear has me bummed out for no rational reason at all. Sorry if that doesn’t do anything for the question. I just needed to get that out.