The online classified advertising site Backpage.com abruptly shut its adult section on Monday, yielding to a campaign by some state and federal government officials to close a service they contend promotes prostitution and human trafficking.
The unexpected move came on the eve of a hearing convened by a U.S. Senate subcommittee at which Backpage executives had been ordered to testify. In a letter to the subcommittee that rejects the legitimacy of the hearing, Backpage attorneys said the executives would appear but would not testify.
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“The decision of Backpage.com today to remove its Adult section in the United States will no doubt be heralded as a victory by those seeking to shutter the site, but it should be understood for what it is: an accumulation of acts of government censorship using extra-legal tactics,” Backpage.com said in a statement.