Craigslist deletes Personals section in Canada

Pop Goes The News — Hooking up with strangers online is a little harder to do after Craigslist quietly removed the Personals sections from its Canadian sites last Thursday.

Gone are categories like “Casual Encounters,” “Misc. Romance” and “Strictly Platonic.”

The California-based online classified company has not yet offered an explanation but the move comes five weeks after Craigslist deleted the Personals sections from its U.S. sites.

In March, Craigslist said it had to take the personals offline after the U.S. government passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which holds websites responsible for illegal activities like prostitution.

“Any tool or service can be misused,” the company said in a statement. “We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline.

“Hopefully we can bring them back some day.”

On social media, the sudden disappearance of the Personals section has sparked reactions ranging from sincere disappointment to sarcasm.

“When I came to Canada, I relied on Craigslist personals to meet friends, and dates, and partners,” tweeted Sarah Jamie Lewis of Vancouver.

Minister of Loneliness tweeted: “Craigslist personals is finally gone in Canada, so I guess I go to plan B, asking women in the produce section if they feel like getting fisted tonight.”

The personals section was also removed from Craigslist sites in cities around the world last week.

In December 2010, Craigslist yanked its “Erotic Services” and “Adult Gigs” – which were largely used to solicit prostitution – following months of lobbying by the Canadian government. It had done the same in the U.S. in September of that year.