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Surprising Science

Is Craig Newmark Doing Enough To Stop Murder And Prostitution?

Finding a job, a date, used clothing, golden retriever, or pretty much anything else has been facilitated immensely by the online classifieds site Craigslist. But the ease with which users can access anything they want has taken a dangerous turn with recent murders allegedly facilitated on Craigslist.

The site’s personals sections–which sees higher traffic than any other online personals–is at first glance much like the advertisements for romantic liaisons print publications have run for years. There are postings for men and women seeking one another according to whatever orientation or taste. There are even innocuous “strictly platonic” listings.

But the site’s casual encounters section is a clearinghouse for raunchy desire. Photos of men and women in various stages of undress. Cruisers on the make for sex in whatever form it comes. Prostitution. Flashers. Animal acts. You name it.

Observers of this carnal free-for-all have inevitably said it would likely result in violence, and at least three recent murders originating from Craigslist personal listings seem to confirm the fears.

Craiglist founder Craig Newmark has been supportive of victims’ families, but many say the site has not taken the appropriate steps to warn its users of potential dangers. Greg Collier who operates the Craigslist competitor, Geebo, has launched a personal campaign to stop Craigslist’s more nefarious listings.

When Newmark spoke to Big Think he said the site acts closely with law enforcement when there are criminal incidents and intimated that Craigslist was affirmed by constitutional freedoms that had come under assault during the Bush years.

“We do respond to requests from law enforcement. We act consistent with due process and constitutional values. We’ve operated as if the Constitution and rule of law was in effect over the past eight years and we do look forward to President Obama re-instating constitutional law.”


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