Backpage

Backpage.com and its CEO plead guilty to federal conspiracy

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

After seven people were indicted on a combined 93 counts, Backpage.com and its CEO Carl Ferrer pleaded guilty in Arizona to federal conspiracy charges.

The details: Per the AP, the guilty pleas in Arizona were presented on April 5, but were unsealed Thursday. In Ferrer's plea deal, he acknowledges "that a great majority of the site's ads were for sex services," and that he "conspired with others at Backpage.com to launder the proceeds from such ads."

Justice indicts seven people from classified ads site Backpage.com

An image on Backpage.com announces it has been seized
Screenshot of backpage.com

The Justice Department has indicted seven people affiliated with the classified ads website Backpage.com on a combined 93 counts, including facilitating prostitution and engaging in money laundering. A message appeared on the site Friday saying authorities had seized it.

The bigger picture: Backpage.com has been the subject of allegations that it facilitates illicit sex-trafficking. But some activists worry the shutdown puts sex workers who use the site in danger. Congress recently passed an anti-sex-trafficking bill that holds online platforms liable for hosting content that facilitates sex trafficking.