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  • Geebo 9:16 am on October 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BBC, craigslist,   

    BBC: Craigslist complicit in crime 

    It’s no secret in America that craigslist is the home of a number of illegal activities on its website every day. The problem is that craigslist doesn’t do anything about it and it’s almost deemed as just a part of doing business on craigslist. Outside of when craigslist still had its adult services section, rarely has a media outlet taken craigslist to task for allowing criminal activity to continually occur. However, in the UK, the vaunted BBC has decided to bring this particular problem to light.

    In a BBC expose that is set to air soon, one of their reporters took it upon himself to show just how widespread criminal activity is on craigslist in the British Isles. The reporter found everything from high-end cocaine, to stolen passports, to people who were willing to let criminals launder money in their bank account. The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said that legislation should be put in place to prevent these activities from taking place on craigslit, while a UK cybersecurity expert said that craigslist could easily implement measures to prevent crimes like this.

    Now if crime is so widespread on craigslist in the UK, it’s more than likely occurring one hundred fold in the US. Instead of just a few voices shouting into the wind about the dangers of craigslist, we need the major news outlets to continue investigating craigslist instead of just patting themselves on the back because the adult services section closed.

     
  • Geebo 9:07 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist,   

    Facebook to manually review ads, so why don’t others? 

    Facebook to manually review ads, so why don't others?

    Facebook has come under fire recently for allegedly accepting money for ads from a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency. For two years these ads ran which intended to fuel the fires of rampant political discord already troubling our country. Some of the ads could have even been viewed as racist or anti-Semitic. After turning over records of these ads to Congress, Facebook announced they would be hiring 1000 people to manually review certain ads targeted toward religious, ethnic, and social groups.

    However, this blog post ultimately is not about Facebook, but another website that touts itself as being socially responsible. We’re of course referring to craigslist. From its iconic purple peace sign logo to the numerous charitable foundations craigslist founder Craig Newmark has donated to, craigslist appears on the surface to be this socially conscious entity, yet they still do nothing to try to protect their own users.

    Craigslist ads remain largely unmoderated which has led to a vast number of scams and violent crimes. Their rants & raves section is filled all sorts of vitriol and hate from blatant racism to calls for violence. Their casual encounters section is often the playground of child predators looking for their next victim. Yet craigslist does not hire any moderators, refusing to expand from their alleged two dozen employees.

    While craigslist may not be as lucrative as Facebook, I think they could probably scrounge enough to money to hire a team of moderators. They just choose not to.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on August 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Charlottesville, craigslist,   

    Craigslist creates safe space for hate 

    Craigslist creates safe space for hate

    As you probably know, tragedy struck the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend when a white supremacist protest descended on the college town. The so-called ‘alt-right’ was there to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. This prompted counter-protesters to show up in support of the statue’s removal. Unfortunately, the protest turned violent when 20-year-old alleged Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr. reportedly plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters. He is said to have injured 19 people and killed 33-year-old Heather Heyer.

    In the wake of this tragedy, a white nationalist website made a post making light of Ms. Heyer’s death, to put it politely. Because of that, domain registrar GoDaddy told the website they have 24 hours to remove the domain from their service. The website then registered their domain name with Google who rejected the request for similar reasons. Many on the side of the ‘alt-right’ are claiming this is censorship, however, both GoDaddy and Google are well within their rights not to do business with hate groups. Rather than censorship, this is merely a case of content moderation. These businesses have terms of service which limit what content can be used with their platforms as most online businesses do.

    One website that doesn’t seem to mind the recent proliferation of hate speech is craigslist. If you were to go to the Charlottesville craigslist forum, it wouldn’t take long before you were able to not only find hate speech but tasteless jokes made at the expense of a homicide victim. We’re not saying craigslist are supporters of hate speech, however, it goes a long way in showing how unwilling they are to moderate the content on their site. Whether it be ads for obvious scams or illegal materials or the disparagement of a woman murdered in a hate crime, craigslist just doesn’t care.

     
  • Geebo 8:57 am on August 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, ,   

    Facebook Marketplace follows craigslist’s dangerous lead 

    Facebook Marketplace follows craigslist's dangerous lead

    In a previous blog post we stated “Craigslist has nothing to teach Facebook” in terms of content moderation. We defended Facebook stating they have a much better content moderation system in place than craigslist. However, it seems we may have been a bit mistaken in that defense because it seems Facebook Marketplace is following craigslist’s bad example anyway. In a report by Sky News in the UK, their investigation found illegal prescription drugs were allegedly being sold on Facebook Marketplace with impunity.

    Rather than having personal moderation on Facebook Marketplace, Facebook seems to be relying on the craigslist model of ‘community policing.’ The problem with having the community moderate Marketplace is they tend not to report illegal activity. The people who are going to Marketplace for illegal goods are not going to report anything and the people who are going to Marketplace for legitimate uses aren’t actively searching for illegal content.

    That’s also not taking into account Facebook seems to be lax in enforcing their own rules. According to the Sky News report, Facebook initially said the profiles of alleged Marketplace drug dealers didn’t violate their terms of service. The offending profiled weren’t removed until Sky News contacted Facebook personally. Most Facebook users aren’t an international news outlet who can just contact Facebook by phone. So, much like craigslist, it seems Marketplace’s community policing is a lot of lip service.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on July 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist, , Slate   

    Craigslist has nothing to teach Facebook 

    Craigslist has nothing to teach Facebook

    Noted news and opinion website Slate recently published an article entitled “What Facebook Can Learn From Craigslist”. One could assume by the headline that Slate must mean craigslist can teach Facebook something about Facebook Marketplace, but that’s not the point Slate is trying to make. Instead, Slate makes the questionable claim craigslist has ‘conquered’ its own content moderation, which leads to the question, what moderation?

    Granted, Facebook has had its own controversies lately with Facebook Live being used to broadcast a number of crimes and suicides, and the ever-growing problem of hate speech, however craigslist should not be held up as a shining example of how content should be moderated. In researching this post, it took me literally under a minute to see something racist posted in craigslist’s forum section. That’s not even taking into account the number of news stories that go out almost daily that contain the words ‘beware’ and ‘craigslist’.

    Let’s not forget the 115 victims that have been allegedly killed during craigslist transactions.

    If anything, craigslist could learn from Facebook. While craigslist only has 40 employees, Facebook has hired contracted content moderators to at least try to curb some of the material that goes against Facebook’s terms of service. Craigslist wouldn’t even remove their adult ads section until well after CNN’s Amber Lyon famously approached craigslist founder Craig Newmark, as pictured above, about the human trafficking that took place on craigslist.

    The only thing that craigslist can teach is how not to do things.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on June 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car theft ring, craigslist, Hosuton, ,   

    Craigslist and OfferUp used in multi-state car theft ring 

    Craigslist and OfferUp used in multi-state car theft ring

    Recently, 16 people from the Houston, Texas, area have been arrested for allegedly running a multi-state car theft ring that netted them over $1 million. The crew would use fake IDs to rent cars from rental car services and would then sell these cars states away. They were able to sell the cars through unmoderated classifieds.

    The suspects are said to have used both craigslist, which is no surprise, and classifieds app OfferUp to sell these cars to unsuspecting buyers. A number of the suspects were caught after they had bragged about their crimes on social media. It’s unknown what has happened to the money given to the suspects by buyers, but if history is any indicator, it will be a long time before they may see any of it again.

    This is the problem with unmoderated classifieds. When cars are being sold for ridiculously low prices it should be a red flag to any site or app that deals in car sales. If the price is too good to be true, many times it’s either stolen or the car doesn’t even exist. Precautions could be put in place by these sites and apps, but it seems they’d rather not spend the money to help ensure a better customer experience.

     
  • Geebo 8:56 am on June 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, ,   

    Why haven’t the classifieds murders of two young men caused any concern? 

    Why haven't the murders of two young men rattled the classifieds industry?

    Within the past week two young men who were both full of promise lost their lives after trying to complete transactions through online classifieds. In the first case, 19-year-old Brian Brown was shot and killed in North Miami Beach while trying to sell a Playstation through craigslist. He was getting ready to leave for college in Northern California where he had earned a football scholarship. According to the Craigslist Killings – Craigslist Safety blog, Brown was the 115th person to be killed through some type of craigslist transaction gone wrong.

    In the second case, 21-year-old Zack Finch was shot and killed in Charlotte, North Carolina after trying to buy a cell phone through the classifieds app LetGo. Finch was a star for his university’s baseball team. By this blog’s estimation, Finch is the third person to have been killed while using the LetGo app.

    Both of these men had such promise and unfortunately their lives have been cut short due to greedy and heartless killers who just wanted to make a quick buck regardless the cost of lives. In both cases no arrests have yet to have been made. The bigger question is, why haven’t these two murders, that happened within days of each other to two similar men, not been a cause for concern? People carry on using craigslist and LetGo like nothing has happened and continue to disregard the basic tenets of safety. Both murders occurred in broad daylight in public spaces and as we’ve said in the past, these old rules don’t apply anymore as criminals have become bolder in their crimes in the past few years. Virtually all the big names in the industry have had violent crimes attached to their brand including Backpage, LetGo, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace and of course, craigslist.

    Geebo is very serious about the safety of our users. When you meet someone to either buy or sell an item we highly recommend completing the transaction at a police station during the day. Many police stations now have areas set up just for these transactions. Even then we still recommend taking a friend and letting people know where you’re going and why. While these measures may seem extreme, it’s worth it in the end to see not only our users, but the users of all sites and apps, to come home safely.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on May 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: art theft, craigslist, Mordokwan, rembrandt, wire fraud   

    Was craigslist used in the country’s largest art heist? 

    Was craigslist used in the country's largest art heist?

    There’s no doubt that craigslist has a crime problem. One industry observer even called craigslist a ‘cesspool of crime’. The crimes committed on craigslist are countless, but one you don’t normally hear about is art theft. We’re not talking about dogs playing poker either.

    Over 25 years ago, two men disguised as police stole over $500 million in artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Two of those pieces were Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee” (partially shown above), and Johannes Vermeer’s “The Concert”. “The Concert” is valued at $200 million. The FBI has been offering a $5 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the paintings.

    Recently, a man known only by the pseudonym of ‘Mordokwan’, allegedly took out craigslist ads all over the world claiming he had the aforementioned paintings and was selling them both for $55 million. So, was a crime so rare that it’s usually reserved for heist movies brokered through craigslist? Not exactly.

    As it turns out, it was a crime that craigslist is more known for, wire fraud. ‘Mordokwan’ turned out to be 47-year-old Todd Andrew Desper of Beckley, West Virginia. Authorities were able to track him down after he allegedly requested a $5 million cashier’s check be sent to a PO Box at a local UPS Store. Desper was said to not be in possession of any of the paintings advertised or any of the ones stolen and is not believed to be connected to the original heist.

    While Mr. Mordokwan may not be the smartest criminal to ever use craigslist, he’s far from the only one, and craigslist continues to not lift a finger when it comes to their users’ safety.

     
  • Geebo 8:57 am on May 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, Forbes, , ,   

    Geebo is not for naught, despite what Forbes may say 

    Geebo is not for naught, despite what Forbes may say

    Recently, Forbes.com published a blog post about startup classifieds apps LetGo and OfferUp and how one of them may be the latest craigslist killer. By that we mean a proverbial David taking on the Goliath of craigslist, and not one of the 100+ murderers that have used craigslist to find their victims. We’ll get to those startups in a moment, but first a comment in the article made about Geebo needs to be addressed.

    Halfway down the page Geebo is dismissed by the Forbes blogger in the following manner…

    Every few years, someone in Silicon Valley looks at Craigslist and thinks he or she can do better. In the late 1990s, the startled newspaper companies tried collaborating with each other on various projects, and in 2000, Geebo launched as the “safe” Craigslist. In 2004, there was Oodle, a well-financed website that later tried to incorporate Facebook identities. All these efforts basically came to naught.

    The Forbes blogger seems to have not done his research as very little what he wrote about Geebo is correct. Geebo was founded in 1999, however, it was not launched as the “safe” alternative to craigslist as he put it. Geebo CEO Greg Collier founded Geebo to provide a better user experience than what was being put out by hard-copy newspapers. Not only that, but at the time of Geebo’s founding Mr. Collier had not even heard of craigslist as it had not yet become the brand that we know today. Mr. Collier even said that he didn’t want Geebo to be anything like craigslist. He also wanted Geebo to have its own users rather than trying to take users away from craigslist. Since that time Geebo has in fact marketed itself as a safer community classifieds. That’s a claim that Geebo takes very seriously considering the number of murders and other crimes that have been committed through the so-called industry leaders craigslist and Backpage. Even relative newcomer LetGo has had a couple of murders committed through its app.

    The rest of the Forbes blog post seems to be nothing more than a love letter to OfferUp. While OfferUp may not be headquartered in Silicon Valley, it still follows the same old Silicon Valley routine. They went to venture capitalists looking for seed money in order to get their startup off the ground. And let’s face it, apps like LetGo and OfferUp are usually founded for one primary reason and that’s to be bought out by a larger company. Geebo has always been a self funded company and has maintained profitability in an industry where many startups don’t even have a monetization plan. In fact Geebo generates more net profit than craigslist per 1 million users.

    Speaking of users, the Forbes post states that LetGo has a userbase of 7.3 million while OfferUp users come in around 6.3 million. Legitimate user numbers can be tricky in determining since a number of companies use click farms overseas to inflate their numbers. These click farms can also be used to scrape content from other sites.

    This isn’t even taking into consideration that Forbes.com isn’t the financial journal of record that it once was. A few years ago they opened up their website to just about anyone who cared to write for them. They have basically become a content farm for the financial sector.

    In conclusion, Geebo has been a successful business in an industry that has seen many proverbial bodies left in its wake. We were here before the startups and we’ll be here after they’re gone. All while maintaining a reputation of being an ethical and safer classifieds.

     
  • Geebo 9:22 am on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist, crime,   

    Triple digit murders highlight craigslist’s lack of safety 

    Triple digit murders highlight craigslist's lack of safety

    Last year, The Washington Post ran an article entitled “Think twice before answering that ad: 101 murders have been linked to Craigslist”. That number was provided by the AIM Group who maintain a public list of victims on the Craigslist Killings – Craigslist Safety blog. Since that article was published, there have been nine more victims added to the list bringing the number up to 110.

    The article also goes on to mention Aim Group’s SafeTrade initiative to turn police stations into safe zones for craigslist transactions. That should tell you volumes right there on how unsafe craigslist really is. If a major industry watchdog group and numerous police departments across the country are urging you to use police stations to do business on craigslist then it really isn’t all that safe.

    Craigslist has such a low barrier to entry that they don’t even require a valid phone number for anyone to place ads. This allows anyone with a criminal intent to place an ad for whatever reason. The crimes on craigslist run the gamut from fake check scams to robbery to sexual assault, all the way up to murder. If history is any indicator, craigslist will probably not enact any additional safety features to the anemic ones that they barely have. Craigslist hasn’t even publicly commented on user safety in seven years, according to The Post.

    Craigslist has always prided itself on having a minimum number of employees. In the past they have stated that there are only about two dozen employees to help run a global classifieds empire. What it really comes down to is that craigslist seems to covet their profit margins so much, that they would rather sacrifice user safety than having new safety measures eat into their bank account. Craigslist may have been founded on Bay Area principles of community and sharing, but today they are nothing more than an international bastion of greed whose only real concern is the bottom line.

     
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