ERS Shuts Its Doors

September 2010:

A lawsuit against Craigslist was filed by Thomas Dart, a sheriff in Cook County, Illinois, in 2009. Dart charged the site with facilitating prostitution. The case was rejected on the grounds of Section 230.

Facing increased pressure to shut down their ERS page, the company initially argued that it had a right to allow the ads under Section 230 and continued to run them with increased oversight. Following letters of complaint issued by attorneys general in 17 states, Craigslist eventually blocked access to the page, replacing its link with a black ‘censored’ icon. The closure of ERS prompted much debate. Many internet law specialists came to the defense of Craigslist, agreeing that the ads were protected by Section 230.

In their congressional testimony, executives from the company warned that with the closure of its Erotic Services page, law enforcement would lose a valuable partner in the fight against trafficking.