Back in 2012, three women who were prostituted on Backpage while underage filed a lawsuit against the website in the state of Washington. For three years I hadn’t heard any updates about the lawsuit. I just assumed it was dismissed like similar lawsuits have been in the past. I’m glad I was wrong.
Earlier today the State Supreme Court of Washington ruled that the lawsuit against Backpage can proceed. Previously lawsuits like this have been dismissed because of the Federal Communications Decency Act of 1996. That act, which is antiquated in internet time in my opinion, basically says that a website is not responsible for the content that its users may post on it. However, in their ruling the court said that the case can proceed because there may be evidence that Backpage had a hand in creating the content.
The lawsuit filed in Pierce County Superior Court claimed Backpage.com markets itself as a place to sell “escort services” but actually provides pimps with instructions on how to write an ad that works.
Between the lawsuit proceeding and taking a hit in the wallet after the credit card companies cut ties with them it looks like Backpage may finally be beginning to reap what they have sown.