Backpage.com Coverage

Backpage.com is a classified advertising site owned by Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC (VVM). Backpage.com covers 500 cities in the U.S. and several other countries. It has 35 million unique visitors per month and receives millions of postings each month for cars, jobs, adult ads and places to rent. VVM also owns 13 alternative weeklies, all AAN members, including The Village Voice, L.A. Weekly and Westword. In addition, 20 other AAN members use Backpage.com for their listings.

The National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter in August to Backpage citing concern about human traffickers use of Backpage. Backpage, through their counsel SNR Denton of Chicago, responded to the letter by agreeing with the AGs' safety and security objectives and outlining the specific Communications Decency Act provisions and First Amendment protections classifieds sites such as Backpage.com operate under in the United States. Backpage knows it operates well within the law and that the Attorneys General understand this. Backpage has further made significant investments in technology and human editors to hand screen all adult ads that appear on the site to enhance the safety and security of users of the site.

It should be noted that many members of AAN do not take adult ads and this is a contentious topic among papers within our organization. Below is a roundup of stories and blog posts on this debate.
Backpage.com and the prostitution law that could take down Twitter, YouTube, and Wikipedia
Washington State's prostitution law threatens to completely change the way websites handle third-party content.
Former Sex Worker Melissa Petro Defends Adult Ad Site Backpage.Com
Shutting down the Village Voice's adult classifieds site could force some current users into poverty or onto the street, says a former sex worker who previously advertised online.
Wash. Gov. signs bill insisting sex ad sellers check ID
Proof of a good-faith attempt to verify the age of the advertised person is considered a defense under the law.
What Nick Kristof Got Wrong
Nicholas D. Kristof was wrong about the most devastating 'fact' in his Sunday, March 18th, column in The New York Times regarding Backpage.com.
Backpage Takes Heat, But Prostitution Ads Are Everywhere
Yes, Backpage makes money from randy ads, but it’s also the online equivalent of a European red-light district, contained and easily monitored by the police.
Is Backpage Responsible for Kidnapping and Rape?
The reality of sex marketing is more complicated than Nicholas Kristof admits.
Village Voice Media defends its backpage.com ad policy
Religious groups and others fear ads may facilitate child sex trafficking, but Village Voice papers have run articles saying the concerns are overstated.
David Carr: Being Selective About Sex Ads Contributed to the Twin Cities Reader's Demise
New York Times columnist David Carr says of the battle over online sex ads, "If Backpage.com retreats ... some other alternative will immediately take its place."
NYT: Backpage.com Adult Ads Are Free Speech, Dude
The targeting of Backpage.com follows 2010′s moral panic regarding adult services on Craigslist, which folded like a cheap lawn chair and killed the adult section of their site.
Advertising Does Not Create Trafficking, Ending Advertising Will Not Stop It
If we are really serious about stopping trafficking, we need to start caring about the lives of sex workers.
Village Voice Media Responds to Religious Coalition
"Complicated issues require sophisticated solutions, not PR flurries."
Backpage Gets 47 USC 230 Defense for Prostitution Ads

Judge Dismisses Sex Trafficking Lawsuit Against Village Voice Media
A federal judge in St. Louis dismissed the suit brought by a teenage sex trafficking victim, affirming that websites cannot be held liable for content posted by users.
Safety and Security Enhancements to Backpage.com
CNN's Amber Lyon Has a Conflict of Interest
See video and transcript of CNN's Amber Lyon helping her sex trafficking source, FAIR Fund, raise money.
Internet Sex Panic
Fake study, real impact.
Real Men Get Their Facts Straight
Ashton and Demi and Sex Trafficking
Backpage.com Rejects Calls for Censorship
Backpage.com respectfully declines the recent demand by a group of 21 state attorneys general that it close its adult classifieds website.
Backpage.com, VVM Helped FBI Catch Child Predator
Village Voice Media responds to lawsuit against Backpage.com.

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