The Dangers Lurking on the Online Community of Craigslist: By Jade Dreyer


Jade Dreyer

Hi everyone my name is Jade Dreyer, and I’m a Marketing major minoring in Communication Studies. With my degree I hope to have a successful career involving Public Relations in any realm of media television, music, radio etc. I’m known for being outspoken and love being with family and friends. You can check out more about me on my Facebook or Twitter

The online community of Craigslist is primarily used for free online classified advertisements, with postings about current jobs in your local city, items for sale, discussion forums, and many more. Here is the actual website of craigslist of all California regions Craigslist. Although there are many beneficial resources on the popular online community, it does have its dangers that may not be so obvious. There have been many controversial issues that have raised overwhelming concerns regarding the safety and privacy that can be violated on this website.

Craigslist Killer

The now removed erotic services section is one of the many dangers of users safety. To review even more information on the closure of the erotic services section on Craigslist check out this article “Craigslist Gives In, Will Shut Down Erotic Services Section”.  After many issues concerning online prostitution rings and the infamous “Craigslist Killer” the erotic services was placed under harsh scrutiny.  The “Craigslist Killer” is a perfect example of digital media like Craigslist, allowing perpetrators to take advantage of the shortcomings of the openness of the Internet. The “Craigslist Killer” who was known as Phillp Markoff, a successful medical student in Boston Massachusetts, who acquired his infamous name by responding to erotic service advertisements on Craigslist, and then murdered one woman and robbed another. To learn more about the “Craigslist Killer” read this Fox News article Craigslist Killer Fox News .  The brutal murder of an innocent woman is a clear depiction of how online services can lead too much more than simple interaction online. When woman or anyone else place ads on websites such as Craigslist they are setting themselves up for potential danger.

With issues coming to head such as the “Craigslist Killer” research is being done to see what means need to be taken to protect Internet users. Self-regulation of the Internet being one of the ways to try to govern the unfavorable material that is being displayed online.  There are options like “the self-regulation software that is available that will block more than a certain percentage of skin or filter material that is deemed to have ‘suspect’ content.”(O’brien, 153) The scholarly article that discusses in full detail the dangers of the Internet and the precautions that need to be taken can be found here: Clear and Present Danger? Law and Regulation of the Internet . Concerns of people right’s under the first amendment come to be an issue because everyone has the right to free speech, so companies are not to eager to try these new techniques such as self-regulation because of fears of lawsuits. There has also been many recent cases pending against the website Craigslist concerning sex trading and trafficking of young women and children one case can be seen in this article Craigslist Embroiled in Sex Trafficking Scandal. With society changing everyday with new digital media with websites like Craigslist, there will have to be actions taken to facilitate the ever-evolving technological world. The “Rebecca Project for Human Rights” is working on changing many of these issues online regarding specifically the protection of children and women being used in sex trades from the websites such as Craigslist. To learn more regarding the issues of Human Rights please watch the informative video below or visit the website to read about aritlces and issues they are confronting at The Rebecca Project for Human Rights.

Here is a video on the “Craigslist Adult Services Takedown”

Another recent case that has come against the website Craigslist, the privacy and protection of Craigslist users, has been the rape victim who told her horror story of Craigslist. With more than 50 million Americans who visit Craigslist every month, it is not surprising that some of those people use the websites tools for the wrong reasons. A woman made her case heard on September 23, 2010 when she discussed on the Oprah Winfrey show, how the website aided in her being horribly raped.  The woman had found pictures of herself in a classified advertisement that stated, “Need an aggressive man with no concern or

The men convicted of aiding and raping the woman from posts on Craigslist

regard for women. If interested contact Sarah.” After seeing this disturbing advertisement she notified the police, yet they told her to deal directly with Craigslist, but it was too late. Shortly after discovering the post she was raped by a 26-year-old married father of two, the man was sentenced to 60 years in prison. It was later reveled that her ex-boyfriend had posted the advertisement and he was sentenced to the same amount of time as the rapist. The information posted here can be found on the Oprah website at Craigslist-Rape-Victim. In today’s technological era people can be subjected to hate crimes, sexual assault, fraud, identity theft… without even any knowledge of what has been said or done to them online. Just as the rape victim of Craigslist, what is placed publicly on the Internet without your knowledge or even with is shown to have horrible repercussions.

With the new easier ways of gaining private information from social networking users, sexual predators are taking advantage of the weakness of the naïve. Although the article “Stranger Danger and the Online Social Network“ discusses primarily Facebook and Myspace it still makes a valid point regarding the prevalence of sexual predators on social networking sites such as Craigslist. “More than fifty-five percent of all American teenagers use and post profiles on these services. The high number and high concentration of minors on both MySpace and Facebook, as one researcher describes, creates “target-rich environment[s]” for online sexual predators. While a recent survey reveals that the majority of teens restrict their profiles to only their friends, a sizable forty percent allows anyone to view their information. As a result, many teens remain contactable by strangers. Sexual predators have taken notice of this circumstance and have begun attempting to infiltrate social networking communities.” (Guo, 617) Stranger Danger and The Online Social Network. With this valuable information online communities such as Craigslist and the users, can take into consideration that when posting private information, you don’t know what person will read it and possibly take advantage of you.

The horror stories of Craigslist and many other social networking sites are endless, but the action of the users can put a stop to the perpetuating vicious cycle of the negative outcomes of privacy being exploited online. Here are some things that are said to help you stay safe on Craigslist “Create a separate email account, research, use the buddy system, meet in public, protect your personal information, and trust your instincts. To learn more on how to stay safe on Craigslist please check out this website How to Stay Safe While Using Craigslist . Also exsiting in the world of Craigslist, are people getting scammed by internet fraud and identity theft. There are ways to protect yourself on Craigslist including using the website the “Better Business Bureau” to make sure the business you are dealing with on Craigslist is a legitimate business. To learn more on how to protect yourself on Craigslist watch this video:

Guo, Richard M. “STRANGER DANGER AND THE ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORK.” Berkeley Technology Law Journal 23.1 (2008): 617-644. Communication & Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 22 Nov. 2010.

O’Brien, Mark. “Clear and Present Danger? Law and the Regulation of the Internet.” Information & Communications Technology Law 14.2 (2005): 151-164. Communication & Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 22 Nov. 2010.


One Response to “The Dangers Lurking on the Online Community of Craigslist: By Jade Dreyer”

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