Craigslist linked to sex industry, murders

Lawyers for Craigslist met several state lawyers yesterday to discuss blocking the social networking site's "erotic services" ads, which have been linked to recent high-profile murders, Reuters reports.

The meeting, held in New York, included the attorneys general for Connecticut, Illinois and Missouri. They called for changes to the 14-year-old online classified advert site that generates more than 20 billion page views per month in 50 countries with a staff of 28 people.

Apparently Philip Markoff, a 23-year-old Boston University medical student, has been charged with murdering a masseuse who he met, allegedly, after she advertised her services on craigslist. Markoff, has been dubbed the "Craigslist killer," according to Reuters and has also been charged with assaulting and robbing a woman in Rhode Island.

In March, reporter George Weber was stabbed to death after meeting his accused killer through a Craigslist personal ad, while Michael Anderson of Minnesota was convicted of killing a woman who responded to a babysitting ad placed on the website.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who attended the meeting, called on Craigslist to shut down its "erotic services" section, which she said includes prostitution ads, and to improve its ability to track illegal content.

Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said he was optimistic that the issues could be addressed "while preserving the beneficial aspects of Craigslist ... without compromising the quintessentially American values of free speech embodied in our Constitution."

Reuters quoted Madigan saying 400 to 500 ads for prostitution are still posted every day.