Craigslist closed the adult services section of its website, two weeks after 17 state attorneys general demanded it shut down the section.
The section had been replaced Saturday by a black and white "censored" logo.
The San Francisco-based Craigslist did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment. The company did say Saturday it would issue a statement on the matter, though it didn't say when and it didn't release anything as of Sunday mid-morning. Someone put a cardboard sign on the front gate of the company's San Francisco headquarters that had the word "censored" written out in block letters.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, one of the AGs who pressed for the change, said in a written statement that he welcomed the change and was trying to verify Craigslist's official policy going forward.
He said if it was doing the right thing voluntarily in response to the AGs, it could set a good example for others.
In an Aug. 24 letter, the state attorneys general said Craigslist should remove the section because it couldn't adequately block potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution and child trafficking.
The listings came under new scrutiny after the jailhouse suicide last month of a former medical student who was awaiting trial in the killing of a masseuse he met through Craigslist. Critics have likened the services to virtual pimping, while Craigslist maintained the site was carrying ads even tamer than those published by some newspapers.
Craigslist's adult services section carried ads for everything from personal massages to a night's companionship, which critics say veered into prostitution.Craigslist's CEO Jim Buckmaster said in a May blog posting that the company's ads were no worse than those published by the alternative newspaper chain Village Voice Media. He cited one explicit ad which included the phrase: "anything goes $90."
Like many other free online forums, Craigslist typically does not review ads before they are posted by users. But in 2008, under pressure from 40 state attorneys general, Craigslist began requiring posters to provide a working phone number and pay a fee for placing an ad in what is now the adult services section. Several months later, Craigslist adopted a manual screening process in which postings are reviewed before publishing.