Pounced, a dating site for singles who enjoy dressing up in furry costumes, has shut down its services to avoid falling foul of controversial US sex trafficking legislation.
It follows Craigslist, which recently announced that it was shutting down its ‘personals’ section because of the new laws.
The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) may make US companies that unknowingly facilitate sex trafficking liable, meaning any online provider which cannot moderate its user-generated content effectively may be at risk.
The legislation clashes with section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which protects websites that host a large amount of user-generated content (such as comments sections or reviews).
Section 230 reads: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
It is not clear whether section 230 of the CDA will provide protection from liability in the case of sex trafficking on websites without the resources to moderate.
Now, when users try to visit the Pounced website, they see the message: “FOSTA attempts to make Internet sites such as pounced.org liable for the way users use the site in an effort to address sex trafficking and prostitution.
“FOSTA increases our liability significantly and chips away at one of the primary reasons we as a small organization can provide services to the community – the protection that had previously been offered to us by Section 230 of the Communications Decency act”
The site had over 85,000 users before the shutdown.
Read more here.