SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The online classified advertising site Backpage.com abruptly shut its "adult" section on Monday, yielding to a campaign by some state and federal government officials to close a service they contend promotes prostitution and human trafficking.
The unexpected move came on the eve of a hearing convened by a U.S. Senate subcommittee at which Backpage executives had been ordered to testify. In a letter to the subcommittee that rejects the legitimacy of the hearing, Backpage attorneys said the executives would appear but would not testify.
"The decision of Backpage.com today to remove its Adult section in the United States will no doubt be heralded as a victory by those seeking to shutter the site, but it should be understood for what it is: an accumulation of acts of government censorship using extra-legal tactics," Backpage.com said in a statement.
(Reporting by Jonathan Weber; Editing by Paul Tait)