Backpage.com Seized by the US Government, Says Website

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Backpage.com, a popular classified ads website, appears to have been taken offline, showing instead a message informing visitors that the site has been seized and disabled by the federal government.

Multiple users posted a notice on Twitter with the headline "backpage.com and affiliate sites have been seized". A Washington Post investigation past year found that Backpage was using a contractor in the Philippines to contact prostitutes on other websites, seeking to lure their ads to Backpage and creating the ads for those prostitutes in advance.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department confirmed to CNN that the website has been seized and that additional information will be provided after 6 p.m. ET.

The Supreme Court in January 2017 refused to consider reviving a lawsuit against backpage.com filed by three young women alleging the site facilitated their forced prostitution.

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In 2016, a Senate subcommittee launched an investigation into Backpage's role in child sex trafficking and found that Backpage modified the wording of ads to delete references to children, while still allowing the ads to stand.

Go to the Backpage website as of Friday afternoon, and you'll see that the site is down.

The U.S. Senate passed legislation last month making it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that fail to keep sex trafficking and other exploitative materials off their platforms.

Phoenix FBI told the Daily News that "law enforcement activity is occurring".

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