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Free speech and some sex crime victim advocates criticized the removal of the section, saying that it threatened free speech and that it diminished law enforcement's ability to track criminals.However, the removal was applauded by many state attorneys general and some other groups fighting sex crimes.
The company was believed to be owned principally by Newmark, Buckmaster and e Bay (the three board members).
Most of the early postings were submitted by Newmark and were notices of social events of interest to software and Internet developers living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. The number of subscribers and postings grew rapidly.
There was no moderation and Newmark was surprised when people started using the mailing list for non-event postings.
The site received criticism and complaints from attorneys general that the section's ads were facilitating prostitution and child sex trafficking.
Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said, "Craigslist isn't legally culpable for these posts, but the public pressure has increased and Craigslist is a small company." Brian Carver, attorney and assistant professor at UC Berkeley, said that legal threats could have a chilling effect on online expression.
People trying to get technical positions filled found that the list was a good way to reach people with the skills they were looking for. User demand for more categories caused the list of categories to grow.