The following announcement appeared on the homepage of TheEroticReview.com, a.k.a. ‘TER’, Friday — the same day the the feds seized Backpage.com — stating that the site is self-blocking users with United States IP addresses “until such time as the courts have enjoined enforcement of [FOSTA/SESTA], the law has been repealed or amended, or TER has found a way to sufficiently address any legal concerns created by the new law.”
The U.S. Congress has passed the Stop Enabling Sex-Trafficking Act (SESTA, also known as The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act or FOSTA). SESTA amends Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a federal law which has served as the bedrock of protection for online publishers – from Facebook, Yelp, Reddit and Twitter to The Erotic Review – from being held liable for user’s posts on their sites. Under SESTA / FOSTA, the U.S. government can prosecute websites and those that operate them criminally for posts made by users.
As a result of this new law, TER has made the difficult decision to block access to the website from the United States until such time as the courts have enjoined enforcement of the law, the law has been repealed or amended, or TER has found a way to sufficiently address any legal concerns created by the new law. TER is not alone in responding to this threat to your First Amendment Rights: Craigslist has pulled all of its Personal Ads, Reddit has closed a number of Subreddits and sites such as CityVibe and Men4RentNow have gone completely dark. Other websites have taken or are expected to take similar actions.
TER will suspend recurring billing for all U.S. monthly subscribers as well as provide a credit to all other U.S. subscribers equal to the period TER remains blocked to U.S. users.
Please note that users outside of the U.S. will still have full access to the site.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience, but do not believe that TER has any other choice as long as the law remains in effect. We hope to see you soon! If you have any questions please contact [email protected] and we will do our best to answer them.
Interestingly, it has long been speculated that Backpage.com owners and affiliates held a financial interest in TheEroticReview.com. Perhaps it’s relevant that TER’s announcement mentions several sites recently forced into action by U.S. government action, but includes not one word about Backpage.
Prohibition does not work
We suspect that sex workers and hobbyists in the U.S. may begin using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access TER. As the submitted screenshot below indicates, this technique is effective:
Otherwise, expect TheEroticReview.com to relocate to the so-called “dark web.”