Last November, three people in Northern California responded to a posting on the classified ad site craigslist.org seeking “silent assassins” to “eradicate” a local woman, reports Newsweek. On Jan. 24, a Michigan massage therapist was arrested in the case. Craigslist, which started in San Francisco in 1995 and evolved into the world’s largest classified-ad service, is now the unwitting home to child pornographers, prostitution rings, drug dealers, and an array of thugs and scam artists.
Law-enforcement agencies from county sheriffs to FBI cybercrime units have added the site to their beats. Says an FBI agent in Sacramento, who has seven staffers monitoring the site almost constantly, “They’re on it sometimes 24 hours a day. We could use more manpower.” Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said the company used to get a subpoena or search warrant every three years; now it’s about one a day. He says to characterize craigslist as being overrun with crime is misleading, given the tens of millions of postings that go up on the site each month. “In a way, these arrests help make the site safer,” says Buckmaster. “The police have a job to do and we’re here to help.”