Craigslist Controversy (Blog #6, 4551)
One of the most popular sites on the internet is Craigslist. Recently it's been in the news for very negative stories about kidnappings and killings in which the killer found the victim through the site. I personally have never bought from Craigslist, but I used it recently while shopping for a new bike, to help gauge pricing, etc. I know several people who have used the site similarly to buy used items and have been pleased with their experience. There is a lot of evidence, however, that Craigslist is incredibly dangerous because anyone can post anything with no checking system whatsoever. There's a lot of danger in trusting what you see. Not only are many items on craigslist inaccurate in quality or arbitrary in price, but people can use a posting as a pretense for luring you into a face to face situation. That's the true danger of Craigslist; in and of itself, the danger online is minimal if common sense is exercised.
In late October, 2008, a 19-year-old man was charged with second degree murder after killing a woman he lured to his parents home in Savage, MN, having posed as a woman in need of a babysitter.
The "Craigslist Killer" Philip Markoff, a 23-year old medical student, shot and killed a woman (erotic masseuse) he found on craigslist from a solicitation ad including pictures, after he had kidnapped and robbed two other women he found on craigslist from the same type of ads.
The Erotic Services tab of Craigslist is controversial, as it is often thought to be a cover-up for prostitution.
Craigslist statement on the subject:
Q: How does craigslist feel about the "erotic services" category from a moral perspective?
A: Illegal activity is absolutely not welcome, and will not be tolerated. However, when it comes to legal conduct between consenting adults, we feel it is important to err on the side of respecting free speech and privacy rights, and to leave moral judgments to the greater wisdom of the craigslist community, who are empowered through our flagging system.
Craigslist news stories aggregated on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=craigslist&aq=f
New York Times stories about Craigslist: http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch?query=craigslist&srchst=cse