Saturday, 2:15 PM
Report: Craigslist founder denies site facilitates prostitution
By Globe Staff
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has denied that his classified ad website facilitates prostitution, ABC-TV reports today.
"I wouldn't put it that way, no. I disagree," Newmark said in an excerpt of an interview with Martin Bashir that will be aired on tonight's "Nightline" program.
In a clip posted on the Internet by the network, Bashir read Newmark several risqué listings from the site and asked him, "Is that prostitution?"
"Probably," Newmark responded. But he insisted, "If an ad on our site appears, which is wrong for any reason, if it is criminal, we don't want it on our site. We want people to help us get rid of it immediately and in practice that's what happens."
Craigslist has found itself in the spotlight because of the case of Philip Markoff, the Boston University medical student who allegedly used Craigslist to arrange meetings with two young women -- one a prostitute, the other a masseuse -- at posh Boston hotels. Markoff allegedly terrorized one at gunpoint, and, four days later, shot the other to death.
Newmark, howver, has kept a low profile, leaving Craigslist chief executive Jim Buckmaster to comment.
Buckmaster earlier this week denied to the Globe that the website offered sex-related advertising, even as Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called on the company to take stronger actions to combat pornography, prostitution, and child trafficking in its online classifieds.
"I would not describe any section of our site as 'sex related,"' Buckmaster wrote in response to a series of e-mailed questions from the Globe.
He acknowledged that Craigslist offers an "erotic services" section that should not include more than "legitimate escort services, sensual massage, exotic dancers, etc.," but said that offers to exchange sexual favors for money are "strictly prohibited" and removed from the site.
The numerous sex-tinged ads found in several areas of the website, however, seem to contradict Craigslist's image as a homespun marketplace where people can generally post free advertisements to sell and trade goods, like a used dining room set or a bike.