The message posted to Backpage's website. Screenshot of Axios Visuals

Federal authorities shut down, according to a message posted to the site on Friday, saying that law enforcement agencies had seized the classifieds site accused of hosting ads linked to illegal sex trafficking.

The bigger picture: Backpage has increasingly faced criticism — and lawsuits against the site spurred legislation passed this year to make it possible for trafficking victims to sue websites that knowingly facilitated the crime. Some people engaged in sex work expressed concern a crackdown on sites that host their ads would put them in danger.

What they’re saying: “The FBI can confirm that law enforcement activity is occurring,” said Glenn Milnor, the media coordinator for the Bureau’s Phoenix office, when asked about the message. He otherwise referred Axios to the U.S. Department of Justice; the DOJ’s public affairs office declined to comment, saying a press release would be sent out later in the evening.

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