The world's largest classified website, Craigslist. Judy Woodruff gets two views on the larger legal impact. For 50 million Americans, the world's largest classified Web site, Craigslist. But the San Francisco-based site also posts for adult services. Craigslist has long claimed the spot was created only for legitimate adult businesses.
But, this weekend, amid a lot of debate, the company shut down that section and placed a black "censored" label over where the link used to be. There was no comment from Craigslist whether these changes were permanent. But, in a blog post last month, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster wrote, "The site aggressively combats violent crime and human rights violations, including human trafficking and the exploitation of minors. Buckmaster also defended the company's screening process and said, it "has resulted in a mass exodus of those unwilling to abide by Craigslist standards manually enforced on an ad-by-ad basis.
But others charge the Web site was simply a legal place to swap sex for money, sometimes using code language. A typical ad will say, "Sexy teen girl. If you want to have some fun, I appreciate red roses per hour. Public outcry was bolstered by a series of high- profile incidents, including the so-called Craigslist killer, Philip Markoff. The former medical student was accused of kidnapping and assaulting one woman and murdering another in He had met both women through the Web site. Markoff committed suicide in prison last month while awaiting trial.
Two weeks ago, attorneys general from 17 states sent Craigslist a letter, demanding that it take down its adult services section. They charged the company wasn't doing enough to deter prostitution and child trafficking. But now some who ed that letter fear the postings will gravitate to other, less-monitored Avondale craigslist prostitute the site or other Web sites entirely. A quick search on the Washington, D. One read, "I do expect a compensation, so e-mail me for details" — another: "Serious inquiries only, please.
Online payment and PayPal accepted. Two views now on this decision and its impact.
Tom Miller is the attorney general of the state of Iowa. He is one of the 17 attorneys general from around the country who sent the letter to Craigslist. We thank you both for being with us. Tom Miller, I'm going to start with you. How certain are you that Craigslist was being used widely and extensively for this sort of illegal activity, that this wasn't just isolated incidents?
We were quite certain that it was broadly used. A reporter at CNN put an ad on and — of this kind and got 15 responses in three hours. And we have talked to constituents. We looked — we looked at Craigslist and it was clear that — that it was massive in terms of the opportunity for prostitution. And it's not just prostitution. It's human trafficking, the terrible, terrible abuse of — abuse of children.
So, whatever efforts that they were making to keep the — keep people off that would do these things, they were failing, and maybe necessarily were failing. But it was clear, I think, to most everybody that this was a huge source of the information that le to prostitution and, in some cases, human trafficking. I think it's probably pretty likely that these were for prostitution.
I think the question is not, are these for illegal services and should law enforcement take action against these and the people placing them? But the question is really, is this the most effective way to do that? And we're not sure that it is. And, also, it raises larger questions about how speech on the Internet — you know, how law enforcement will respond to speech on the Internet.
Well, I mean, there are a couple questions.
One is, this particular decision, did it — did it come in response to coercion on the behalf of the attorneys general? And I don't think so.
The letter they sent didn't threaten anything. So, I'm assuming that there were no threats involved. So, it was a decision by a single site to take this down. The larger question, though, is that our society really can't rely on sites like this to review every posting.
It's really not realistic. I mean, if Craigslist or Facebook or YouTube had to review every single posting, those sites couldn't exist.
And, so, and the Internet innovation that we have really is the ability of users to put content up online. And that's been a good thing. Tom Miller, what about that point in Iowa? What about this point that it's just unrealistic to expect a Web site to review every single submission in the kinds of things that Craigslist accepts? Well, you know, first of all, we in Iowa benefit greatly from the Internet and its openness and really the interaction and commerce that it causes.
So, we're very supportive of the Internet and business and information through the Internet. But we're not talking about reviewing everything that goes on, on the Internet. We're talking about reviewing things that are in very narrow that are very, very clear that abuse can take place, and serious abuse, when you talk about prostitution and human trafficking.
To review these kinds of and frustrate this kind of abuse, that's not unfair. And it's part of being responsible as a corporate citizen. I don't — I agree with John. I don't think that they did this because they were coerced by the attorneys general. They did it because of the public opinion and because of doing what's right. Clearly, this is the right thing to do. When this much harm is being caused by this kind of activity, to take it off makes every sense in the world.
You know, I hope and trust that they will keep it off. I think, if they do, we owe them a real debt of gratitude of doing the right thing. And if anything we need in American today, it's corporations and politicians, for that matter, perhaps, doing the right thing, doing what's good for the public, as opposed to, in some rare cases, what's good for the bottom line.
John Morris, what's the argument against that? I mean, essentially, what they're saying is, Avondale craigslist prostitute were not legally obligated or that Craigslist wasn't legally obligated. But they did the right corporate citizen — the right corporate citizen thing. You're exactly right that, as a legal matter, they had no obligation to take this down or even to monitor it at all. And they made Avondale craigslist prostitute corporate decision to take it down.
Again, we don't really know exactly why, because they have not made public statements since then. But the argument against it is — is that these will still get placed on places around Facebook. And they were ly aggregated into one category that law enforcement would be able to easily monitor and pursue.
And now they're going to be spread out over Facebook and also over other Web sites.
I'm sorry. I don't mean Facebook.
They will show up on other places on Craigslist. I wasn't meaning Facebook.
Tom Miller, what about that, that — and this — and we have heard others make the same argument, that driving — that closing down this one adult section will drive these kinds of — and it apparently already has — to Craigslist more broadly and other sites, making it even harder to go after any illegal activity? Well, this is a concept, a dynamic that we encounter in law enforcement fairly often, that — you know, that the problem is diffuse and in a lot of different places. Avondale craigslist prostitute, where do you start?
You start with the big one. And this is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, location for these kinds of. So, you know, in our effort, in the court of public opinion and trying to do the right thing, the largest or one of largest does the right thing. ZIP: 85323 85392 85329