Messaging & Online Collaboration: 10 Reasons Craigslist Is in Legal Jeopardy

 
 
By eWEEK Staff  |  Posted 2009-05-08
 
 
 

10 Reasons Craigslist Is in Legal Jeopardy

Founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark as a way to inform about local events in San Francisco, Craigslist has grown into a national classified powerhouse in everything from apartment rentals to erotic services.

10 Reasons Craigslist Is in Legal Jeopardy

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Many loyal fans of Craigslist love its simple format, ease of use and protected anonymity - a major source of problems and cause for adjustments to the site - during the past several years.

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April/May 2009: Labeled the 'Craigslist Killer' by newspaper tabloids, Philip Markoff currently sits in jail accused of murdering a woman in Boston. Markoff found the young woman who advertised massage services on Craigslist.

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In October 2007, Katherine Olson is murdered in Minnesota after answering an ad for a nanny job by a woman named "Amy" who turned out to be a man named Michael Anderson who shot Olson.

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May 2009: Newmark speaks at a memorial concert for Katherine Olson who was invited by the family to speak. "Despite the billions of times well-meaning people have helped each other through Craigslist, it's been devastating to see that it can also be used by bad people to take cruel advantage of others and bring a senseless end to a beautiful young life," said Newark at the concert.

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March 2009: ABC radio broadcaster George Weber is fatally and brutally stabbed in Brooklyn, N.Y., by a 16-year-old juvenile after answering a Craigslist ad for a sexual encounter.

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August 2008: Daniel Brandt thought he was going to meet for a romantic date in Brooklyn, N.Y., but instead was met by two robbers and shot. Brandt found the romantic interest via Craigslist.

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May 2009: The family of Katherine Olson tells Minnesota's CityStar they do not blame Craigslist for their daughter's murder. "There are evil people out there," says Sarah (Olson) "And unfortunately, Craigslist is built for everyday people. And so someone that has ill will, someone psychotic, like Michael Anderson or this medical student, they are going to take it for what it is worth. It's a free tool and they will take advantage of it. And evil people will take advantage of whatever they can."

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November 2008: From City Pages: "Craigslist began asking advertisers to provide valid identification, in addition to charging Erotic Services advertisers a nominal credit card fee ($5 to $10) per ad, enabling the company to confirm users' identities and establish a digital fingerprint. Craigslist also vowed to donate all profits from the sex category to various charities, particularly those that address child exploitation and human trafficking.

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Citing Section 230 of federal law, the Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that Craigslist is protected by the law which states: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

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