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They also say Backpage "encourage[s] dissemination of child sex trafficking content on its website".
They say Backpage is much slower in removing ads that advertise children than ads placed by authorities aimed at trapping traffickers, guides traffickers in creating false pages for underage children, instructs traffickers and buyers on how to pay anonymously, and makes it easier to make adult posts than other posts.
In an amicus curiae brief, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says the efforts of Backpage are inadequate and their reporting lacked in several areas.
They say Backpage does not report all ads that have been flagged as being underage, does not report when someone tries to advertise children under 18 years of age, and does not respond to requests of parents to have ads of their trafficked children removed.
Most of the criticism has centered on the charge that Backpage is used to market minors (i.e.
underage sex trafficking), and that they contribute to a surge of prostitution in areas that they operate.
In 2011, Backpage was the second largest classified ad listing service on the Internet in the United States after Craigslist.
After accusations from the United States Senate of being directly involved with sex-trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors, the company suspended its adult listings, describing the move as "the direct result of unconstitutional government censorship".
Some say that no efforts to police the site and report bad actors outweigh the negative impact the site may have in this area.
The general counsel for National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said, "Backpage’s reporting is not conducted in good faith." In 2012, at the behest of a number of NGO's including Fair Girls and NCMEC, Fitzgibbon Media (a well-known progressive/liberal public relations agency) created a multimedia campaign to garner support for the anti-Backpage position.
Classified advertising in daily newspapers as well as weekly alternatives, suburban papers and community papers was moving to the free advertising model of Craigslist and other smaller websites.
In 2004, in response to this phenomenon, New Times Media (later to be known as Village Voice Media), a publisher of 11 alternative newsweeklies, launched a free classified website called The foundation and traditions of free classified advertising and free circulation were part of the fundamentals of the alternative newsweeklies dating back to 1971.